Saturday, February 12, 2011

Drilling the VostoK ice core: search for life in isolated places.

Update: The Russians (may [1, 2]) have reached at the depth of 3768 meters, the surface of the sub-glacial lake. [Source]
More: here,
The origin of life is an interesting topic because addressing it affects so many philosophical aspects of present day science. As a computational scientists, we do believe in the Markov Chain Monte Carlo-like trial and error method of evolution[!], whereby the living organism is subjected to several forces of evolution and the chances of evolution depends upon the probability of survival of the evolved beings.
Other views on origin of life are open and are welcome!

The vostok ice core has been compared with other environments such as that of the deep sea of Europa or the ice volcanoes of Enceladus; the moons of Jupiter and Saturn respectively. This lake has been isolated for 14 million years. Exploration of such isolated system (without infecting them) could open up possibilities of testing various hypotheses on the origin/possibilities of life on outer/other planets.
A nice article: 

Lake VostoK src

Quoting BBC:
The Russians have friendly competition from US and British teams. Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey (Bas) are hoping to begin their project to drill into Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica later this year. An American crew is targeting Lake Whillans.

Comparing the Epica and Vostok dust records during the last 220,000 years: stratigraphical correlation and provenance in glacial periods [An article from: Earth Science Reviews] Refined analysis of radar altimetry data applied to the region of the subglacial Lake Vostok/Antarctica [An article from: Remote Sensing of Environment]Unmasking Europa: The Search for Life on Jupiter's Ocean Moon