Unexpected Life Found Under Antarctic Ice (Video)

by Nancy Atkinson on March 18, 2010

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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

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

J. Major March 18, 2010 at 11:46 AM

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

chichiki123 March 18, 2010 at 11:55 AM

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…

Vedic March 18, 2010 at 12:23 PM

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

Jon Hanford March 18, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Would this be considered ice-shelf fishing? :)

Aqua March 18, 2010 at 9:15 PM

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..

astronomer72 March 19, 2010 at 2:58 PM

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

Thameron March 20, 2010 at 9:52 AM

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.

wissen March 21, 2010 at 4:02 AM

How cute, he looks a little bit lonely :)

lisa

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