Antarctica's Lake Vostok: Are They There Yet?

Carolyn is a staff writer for Science and is the editor of the In Brief section.

Russia's Antarctic team may have reached Lake Vostok at last.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti is reporting that the team has at last completed its marathon drill through the ice to reach the surface of Lake Vostok. "Yesterday, our scientists stopped drilling at the depth of 3768 meters and reached the surface of the sub-glacial lake," the news site reported that a source told them.

The news, as yet unconfirmed by the team itself, comes after a dramatic week during which the Russian team appeared to go silent for 5 days, possibly because they were drilling around the clock to take advantage of the last week of Antarctic summer, noted microbiologist John Priscu of Montana State University in Bozeman, who has been in periodic touch with the Russian team.

Although there has not yet been an official announcement, Priscu says, "If they were successful, their efforts will transform the way we do science in Antarctica and provide us with an entirely new view of what exists under the vast Antarctic ice sheet."

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