You may recall that last year, a Russian research team drilled over 2 miles into the Antarctic ice sheet to reach Lake Vostok, a massive body of water that has been cut off from the world for possibly millions of years. Yes, it sounds exactly like the beginning of a horror movie, but it could lead to countless amazing scientific discoveries. Now, at last, we are about to find out what is in that lake.
To avoid contaminating the lake waters with their drill, the team drilled down until they had just broken through to liquid under the ice. Then, they left for the winter, hoping that waters from the lake would rise up through the hole just enough to freeze over and leave them a nice, uncontaminated chunk of lake ice that they could pull up out of the hole. And now that it's summer, they've returned to retrieve that ice. This week they pulled up a core of ice that was formed by waters that had not been exposed to Earth's atmosphere since Homo sapiens evolved.
Now, the research begins. Find out more from Caleb Sharf on Scientific American.