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United Kingdom Science

Britain Suspends Exploratory Drilling of Antarctic Lake 37

Posted by samzenpus
from the ice-is-not-nice dept.
A British plan to blast a path through more than two miles of ice to reach an Antarctic lake has been suspended because of technical problems. From the article: "In a move that clears the way for U.S. and Russian teams to take the lead, Professor Martin Siegert said technical problems and a lack of fuel had forced the closure on Christmas Day of the 7-million-pound ($11 million) project, which was looking for life forms and climate change clues in the lake-bed sediment. 'This is of course, hugely frustrating for us, but we have learned a lot this year,' said Siegert of the University of Bristol, principal investigator for the mission, which was headed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). 'By the end, the equipment was working well, and much of it has now been fully field-tested,' he said on the BAS website."
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Britain Suspends Exploratory Drilling of Antarctic Lake

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  • Some alien showed up and started killing off the people.

    After all what do you expect to find in an Antarctic lake

    Maybe another Stargate, or an Ancient base

  • Triple Redundancy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mutantSushi (950662)
    Given that one of the major controversies here is the danger of contamination of the lake (both for negating the scientific value, and the lake ecosystem itself)... Isn't the pursuance of 3 independent, parallel drilling projects solely in the name of national egos, a minor outrage?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They are drilling into different lakes...

    • Given that the lakes have not only been isolated from the rest of the terrestrial environment for eons, and from each other... no, it's not a minor outrage. It's good science to see how evolution has proceeded in each and how they are different from one another.

      Don't mistake the media's preoccupation with "firsts" for the reasons behind the drilling.

  • The British scientists decided to abandon the mission after trying for 20 hours to connect two holes in the ice that were needed for the hot-water drill to work, said a BAS spokeswoman.

    Without a connection between the two holes, the hot water would seep into the porous surface layers of ice and be lost, reducing the pressure and rendering the drill ineffective

    I RTFA and all I can say is "Huh?"

    • by jandar (304267)

      The British scientists decided to abandon the mission after trying for 20 hours to connect two holes in the ice that were needed for the hot-water drill to work, said a BAS spokeswoman.

      Without a connection between the two holes, the hot water would seep into the porous surface layers of ice and be lost, reducing the pressure and rendering the drill ineffective

      I RTFA and all I can say is "Huh?"

      The next sentence explains it, they have not enough water in reserve to compensate:

      The team tried to melt and dig more snow to compensate for the water loss, but without success.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      The British scientists decided to abandon the mission after trying for 20 hours to connect two holes in the ice that were needed for the hot-water drill to work, said a BAS spokeswoman.

      Without a connection between the two holes, the hot water would seep into the porous surface layers of ice and be lost, reducing the pressure and rendering the drill ineffective

      I RTFA and all I can say is "Huh?"

      A case of hole overrun. They tried to sink 7 million pounds and couldn't ... oh wait, they could.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    'nuff said.

  • They were probably digging near a certain mysterious and terrible mountain range. Upon breaking through into a large underground cavern, the team was set upon by some 4 foot albino penguins and a shoggoth.
  • One inconsequential untouched natural feature. It's not going to tell you anything of consequence. Why fuck with it?

    There are enough wonders of science all around us, readily to hand, and already contaminated by modern man, to last a trillion lifetime's worth of search for knowledge.

  • British ingenuity pissed all over by lack of funds yet again. Being cynical and miserable is fun; but without a good does of U.S. level investment you can't come first. Second place with a better idea is shite.
    • Eddie Izzard does a good bit about that in his Dressed to Kill show.

      Fortunately, there's always enough money for pretty horses and regalia for royal weddings.

      • There would be even more money for that crap if the investment money put into UK project was by UK companies and not US firms. I'd point to ARM in Cambridge to say that's how its done;but as Apple and VLSI are US based investors ... bugger.
  • Why drill a hole in in the Antarctic ice when it's so much cheaper to make a hole in the antarctic ozone layer? [wikipedia.org]

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