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Earth NASA Science

Complex Life Found Under 600 Feet of Antarctic Ice 237

Chroniton writes "NASA ice scientists have found a shrimp-like creature and a possible jellyfish 'frolicking' beneath 600 feet of solid Antarctic ice, where only microbes were expected to live. The odds of finding two complex lifeforms after drilling only an 8-inch-wide hole suggests there may be much more. And if such life is possible beneath Earth's oceans, why not elsewhere, like Europa?"
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Complex Life Found Under 600 Feet of Antarctic Ice

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  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:46PM (#31515870) Homepage

    The amphipod is actually a Lysianassid, not a Lyssianasid, if someone tries to google it :)

  • Re:Europa? (Score:4, Informative)

    by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @05:53PM (#31515968)

    All these worlds are yours, except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

    This year, even.

  • Re:Why NASA? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <sirlewk@gma i l . c om> on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:12PM (#31516234)

    Did you read the summary? Potentially a very similar environment as Europa. You don't just fly a probe to Europa and learn how to drill a hole on the fly, you practice and rehearse beforehand. Not really a difficult to understand concept...

  • Re:only problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by johncadengo ( 940343 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:19PM (#31516312) Homepage

    If you're going to point out that Europa is different from Antartica at least take the time to point out how it's different. Namely, the complex life in Antarctica evolved in different, more comfortable conditions. Complex life under hundreds of feet of ice on Earth says nothing about whether or not it's possible for life to begin or become complex in those conditions. It just says that once started, life is very adaptable.

    But did life really begin in such "comfortable" conditions? I don't think its too far-fetched to imagine most life beginning in even less habitable conditions than it currently thrives in.

    Natural selection seems to suggest that life must be more robust than the pressures of its environment, and that life only becomes less robust if it can afford to do so. Not the other way around.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @06:26PM (#31516384)

    Clarke, like Asimov, was a scientist before he was a science fiction author. Hubbard was fraudulent huckster before he was a science fiction author/religious leader.

  • Re:Why NASA? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @07:11PM (#31516846)

    Why is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration looking underneath Antartican Ice?

    They're looking for the second stargate. Duh.

  • by Alan R Light ( 1277886 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @07:25PM (#31516952)

    This doesn't surprise me too much. The SCINI Project [calstate.edu] has been finding neat stuff for some time now, even while they were just testing their equipment.

    Microbes have even been found living in the ice of the polar plateau (at constant temperatures around -50C).

    And check out Anoxycalyx Joubini [escholarship.org] (Volcano Sponge), some specimens of which are thought to be 15,000 years old and still living. These are animals that make those Sequoia look like juveniles.

  • Re:Oceans too (Score:3, Informative)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @07:52PM (#31517192)

    Imagine the impossibility of the oceans drying up.

    For the ocean to "dry up" the water would have to be removed from the planet. That requires two energy inputs: first, enough energy to boil all the water in all the oceans. Second, enough energy to raise the velocity of each molecule of water vapor to the escape velocity.

    I won't bother calculating the energy required to reach escape velocity, but the energy required just to boil the oceans into water vapor is around 3e27 J. Using another value I calculated earlier this morning, this is the equivalent of moving the moon's orbit outward by more than 15,000 km. Or, it would be like directing the entire energy output of the sun (not just the fraction of it which hits the Earth) into the oceans for ten seconds. It's a HUGE amount of energy.

  • Re:Did you mean... (Score:2, Informative)

    by ichthyoboy ( 1167379 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2010 @08:17PM (#31517398)
    Um, no....Lysianassidae is the correct term for the actual family of amphipods; lysianassid would be the correct term for a member of that family, kinda like how the name of our family is Hominidae but we are called hominids.
  • Cthulu? (Score:2, Informative)

    by j33px0r ( 722130 ) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @12:38AM (#31519158)
    Great....we alerted one of his minions.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"