Life Under the Ice

A team of British scientists just made an amazing discovery. They planned to take samples from the seabed under an ice shelf, which I guess would have told them something important about sea beds – what they were looking for is not the newsworthy part of this story. What they found was life. Something that looked like a sponge attached to a rock, and some smaller things (the article says animals, but they look like little mushrooms to me) Anyway, plants, animals, it’s all good. They found living organisms in a place they would have not thought to find them. These are extreme even for extremophiles.
First of all, they had to drill through nearly a kilometer of ice, so no sunlight reaches down there. Then there’s the question of food. The open ocean is hundreds of miles from the drill site, so any organic matter has to drift a long way before it gets there.
Still, it’s there, they’ve found it, our boundaries of where life can possibly exist have just been expanded and, the way I see it, the old Drake equation has been filled in a bit more, and one place in the solar system has become a much more likely target.
I am referring, of course, to Europa, a moon of Jupiter, one of the four discovered by Galileo way back when. It’s covered with ice but scientists suspect that ice covers a liquid ocean. Maybe there are sponges and mushroom like creatures in that ocean. Maybe there are fish.
I hope some day somebody goes up and takes a look.

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