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NASA finds life beneath 600 ft. of ice in Antarctica

NASA scientists found a shrimp-like creature and a tentacle that appears to be from a jellyfish beneath 600 feet of ice in Antarctica.

In a recent, surprising discovery, NASA scientists found life beneath 600 feet of ice in Antarctica.

During a study of the underbelly of a massive Antarctic ice sheet, a small, shrimp-like creature swam into the camera's field of view and then attached itself to the feed cable. The creature, a Lyssianasid amphipod, was about three-inches long and orange. This was especially surprising since scientists expected nothing more than simple microbes could exist in the subfreezing water that never sees the sun. In addition, the camera pulled up a tentacle that appears to be from a foot-long jellyfish. Below is a NASA video of the Lyssianasid amphipod (there is no audio in the video):

The findings have generated debates among biologists and microbiologists, some of whom wonder if it's possible that the shrimp and the jellyfish swam in from more open seas. Microbiologist Cynan Ellis-Evans proposed that possibility, but biologist Stacy Kim, who joined the NASA team after this finding, disagrees. Kim states that hypothesis is very unlikely, as the nearest open seas are at least 12 miles away. Also, the study was looking down an eight-inch hole in the ice, so it is quite unlikely that two forms of life would swim by in the relatively short period of time they were down there. To compare, this hole is to the ice sheet as a drop of water is to a swimming pool.

Since NASA found the shrimp in a fairly harsh environment, there may be a greater possibility that there is more complex life in other harsh environments in the solar system, such as Europa.

For more details about the findings, check out NASA's site.

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8 comments
gardoglee
gardoglee

New discovery or not, it is still exciting, and still reminds us that what we are doing to the planet is affecting living things. And if NASA is discovering this now, how will it aid them in designing future exploratory craft to find things whey might otherwise have missed? In a world of product oriented research, it is critical of us to keep some agencies doing at least some pure research.

brcarroll2003
brcarroll2003

R.J. McReady would like you to know that this is a really bad Thing.

adakar_sg
adakar_sg

Discover is somewhat of an overstatement? These things have been documented since the 60's, but perhaps NASA never did ask any others if they knew what it was before calling it a discovery? Or perhaps the Norwegian science community didnt want to tell anoyone :P

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

It's pretty-much the same as AT&T announcing Unix ten times over a course of 15 years. NASA didn't think anyone was paying attention. I'm not bothered, at least as long as they remain shrimp and don't start morphing into Things. ;)

ScottLander
ScottLander

That's very interesting and also amazing! What goes through this creature's mind at this level of existence, so far down in coldness and complete darkness. And we sometimes think life in IT is stressful! I particularly find interesting the comment about the possibility of life in other harsh environments around our solar system. I'm sure life is overflowing out there, but the universe is so huge that finding it is the real challenge.

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