Russian scientists about to enter Antarctica's largest subglacial lake

We've all heard the expression that space is the final frontier. But for scientists who have been drilling for 20 years to get through to a vast, untouched lake buried under Antarctic ice, there's still new places to explore right here on Earth. And soon that lake, having been trapped for more than 20 million years, will be navigable, and there might even be previously unseen life forms down there.

If you've seen the movie "The Thing," we know what you're thinking right now. The parallels are pretty stark. But Lake Vostok probably won't reveal any sentient alien spacecraft unfortunately. Nevertheless, it is an enormous scientific breakthrough. And the discoveries will not end with Lake Vostok. In fact, this is only the beginning of what could be centuries of work in uncovering newly realized structures in the mysterious continent.

Scientists in the region have confirmed there are more than 200 lakes below the surface of the ice of Antarctica. Lake Vostok, the one that has taken two decades of drilling to reach, is the first one to be explored. Mind blown yet? Scientists say the lakes were originally formed when the land was connected to Australia and have managed to stay liquid because of their proximity to the core of the Earth.

[via Washington Post]