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.Where the geeky things are Need a break from the daily grind? Then sign up for TechRepublic's Geekend newsletter, delivered each Friday. You'll receive off-topic chatter about all things geeky, including science fiction, movies, gaming, books, space, gadgets, and more. Automatically subscribe today!