Scientists in Russia are in a race to drill through 4,000 meters of Antarctic ice sheet to reach a sub-glacial lake that has not seen the light of day for 15 million years:
With only about 50m left to drill, time is running out for the Russian scientists hoping to drill into Vostok – the world’s most enigmatic lake.
Vostok is a sub-glacial lake in Antarctica, hidden some 4,000m (13,000ft) beneath the ice sheet.
With the Antarctic summer almost over, temperatures will soon begin to plummet; they can go as low as -80C.
Scientists will leave the remote base on 6 February, when conditions are still mild enough for a plane to land.
The team has been drilling non-stop for weeks.
“It’s like working on an alien planet where no one has been before,” Valery Lukin, the deputy head of Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St Petersburg, which oversees the project, told BBC News.
“We don’t know what awaits us down there,” he said, adding that personnel at the station have been working shifts, drilling 24 hours a day.
Have these guys never seen a John Carpenter movie?