The Last Place On Earth Is Filled With Germs

| 12/11/2007 2:21:10 PM

A network of unexplored rivers and lakes lies hidden beneath two miles of ice inside Antarctic glaciers. Scientists are racing to drill through the deep ice to uncover these heretofore unknown bodies of water, Mariana Gosnell reports for Discover. The scientists hope to find germs: bacteria able survive the bitterly cold, dark, and watery space. The bacteria might give clues into how life could survive in conditions less convivial than what we currently have on Earth. The trouble is, the scientists don’t want to contaminate the lakes with their own germs.—Brendan Mackie

Discover is a nominee in the 2007 Utne Independent Press Awards for Science/Technology Coverage.

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