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Earth Science

No Microbes In First Sample From Lake Vostok 60

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-about-ancient-sea-monsters dept.
ananyo writes "A first analysis of the ice that froze onto the drillbit used in last February's landmark drilling to a pristine Antarctic lake shows no native microbes came up with the lake water, according to Sergey Bulat of Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (Russia). The very uppermost layer of Lake Vostock appears to be 'lifeless' so far, says Bulat, but that doesn't mean the rest of it is. Bulat and his colleagues counted the microbes present in the ice sample and checked their genetic makeup to figure out the phylotypes. They counted fewer than 10 microbes/ml — about the same magnitude they would expect to find in the background in their clean room."
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No Microbes In First Sample From Lake Vostok

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  • Re:Nutrients (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday October 19, 2012 @11:43AM (#41706575) Homepage

    So what exactly do they suspect these bacteria have been eating down there in the deep dark cold?

    Cthulhu has been feeding them bits of the Snickers bar he was given as campaign contribution... Or perhaps he's been feeding them bits of the campaign contributors themselves.

    But seriously, a background of 10 critters / cc isn't all that 'clean' and

    Bulat and his colleagues counted the microbes present in the ice sample and checked their genetic makeup to figure out the phylotypes. They counted fewer than 10 microbes/ml — about the same magnitude they would expect to find in the background in their clean room. And three of the four phylotypes they identified matched contaminants from the drilling oil, with the fourth unknown but also most likely from the lubricant.

    points to one of the bigger concerns about this experiment - you are going to contaminate the lake at this point as the drilling technology is pretty primitive - basically pouring hot water into a hole.

  • Re:Not fooled (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plover (150551) on Friday October 19, 2012 @12:06PM (#41706889) Homepage Journal

    You could watch the original Fern Gully, but I also like the 2009 remake, "Avatar".

    Seriously, line them up. They're both animated movies about a foreign environment, rich in resources valuable to humans. You've got a human male protagonist, who is originally a member of the first wave of humans planning to harvest the natural resources without concern for the natives. Through some external technical wizardry, protagonist changes size and ends up in the middle of the new environment, where he meets a beautiful native female. As the human initially navigates his way around the environment with his new size and point of view, predictably comedic results occur. Overconfidence quickly leads him in over his head into a near-fatal situation, where the native female uses her intimate knowledge of the environment to rescue him from his own ineptitude. The male is attracted to the female, who rejects him. Over time the human discovers the previously ignored beauty of the ecosystem and learns to respect the environment; which enables the female to grow attracted to him. The female is conflicted, though, and consults with her wise parent, an important elder of the natives. The human continues to learn the native ways, culminating with taming and flying on the native flying animals. The massive wave of normal sized humans then arrive in giant machines to harvest the resources. The movies climax when the protagonist fully changes sides and defends the environment from the encroaching humans, using his knowledge of the human systems and ways to organize the natives to defeat the invaders. The female finally acknowledges her love of the male.

    Even the scenery is the same. Both movies have large trees that are important to the natives. Both feature loops of stone reminiscent of magnetic flux lines.

    The only thing missing from Avatar is the Robin Williams character, Batty. The human sidekick in Avatar isn't nearly as humorous.

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