Astrobiology, Earth

Unexpected Life Found Under Antarctic Ice

18 Mar , 2010 by Video

Researchers in Antarctica got a surprise visit from a creature in a borehole 185 meters (600 feet) below the Antarctic ice, where there is usually no light. A Lyssianasid amphipod, a shrimp-like creature can be seen swimming in this video. A NASA team had lowered a small video camera to get the first-ever photograph of the underside of an ice shelf when the curious little 7 cm (3- inch) shrimp stopped by to check out the equipment. Scientists say this could challenge the idea of where and how forms of life can survive. Anyone else thinking Europa?

“We were operating on the presumption that nothing’s there,” NASA ice scientist Robert Bindschadler told the Associated Press. “It was a shrimp you’d enjoy having on your plate. We were just gaga over it.”
Scientists say this small creature could have a big impact on future exploration and where we look for life, both on Earth and off.

Source: CNN, NASA


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Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

8 Responses

  1. J. Major says:

    He’s kinda cute. I wound’t eat him. :)

  2. chichiki123 says:

    Reminds me of Hawaiian Red Shrimp, Opae ula, Volcano Shrimp only these antarctic fellows seem to be adapted to extreme low temperatures and low light…

  3. Vedic says:

    So we travel half way across the Solar system, discover Alien life on Europa and then decide to eat them….

  4. Jon Hanford says:

    Would this be considered ice-shelf fishing? :)

  5. Aqua says:

    oTay… oTay… I’m seeing it now……. The Titan probe arrives and begins melting its way into the crust with its radiogenically heated drill…. at 5 km depth a shrimp-like life form is encountered..

  6. astronomer72 says:

    Reminds me of “Cilia of Gold” by Stephen Baxter.

  7. Thameron says:

    Let’s hope by the time we are able to dig through the Europan ice that decontamination technology has improved to the point where biological contamination is no longer a risk.

  8. wissen says:

    How cute, he looks a little bit lonely :)


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