Living Bacteria Found Beneath Antarctic Ice
Discovery suggests life could exist elsewhere
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2013 2:33 PM CST
Antarctic sunlight illuminates the surface of sea ice in this file photo.   (AP Photo/NSIDC, University of Colorado)

(Newser) – Scientists drilled through a half-mile of ice into an Antarctic lake and found what is believed to be a first: live bacteria, reports the New York Times. The discovery is intriguing because if the cells can survive there, they could theoretically survive on a frozen planet somewhere. More research is under way to find out one crucial detail: Where is the bacteria getting its food?

“If it’s just consuming organics carried in from elsewhere"—a melting glacier, for example, "it is of much less interest," explains a NASA scientist. But if the cells are feeding off material that comes from a "local energy source," such as minerals in the continent's rock, that's a different story. Extraterrestrial life would likely have to do the same.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Living Bacteria Found Beneath Antarctic Ice is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 18 comments
Feb 8, 2013 12:23 AM CST
Half of the surface of Europa is altered by chaos terrain which is thought to be the result of similar subsurface lake environments. What a fascinating discovery this is - the tenacity of biology never ceases to amaze me.
Feb 7, 2013 9:03 PM CST
What a tough bacteria. Wonder if it will survive under normal temperature?.
Feb 7, 2013 8:05 PM CST
The only place these bacteria could hide from Monsatan's Roundup! The planet is doomed after all the good bacteria is destroyed or adulterated!