British researchers working on a project to drill deep into Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica are now finalizing their plans to start drilling. The lake has a length of seven miles and width of one mile. It is located below two miles of ice. Scientists are carrying out research to check for the presence of living organisms in the lake water and for this purpose they need water samples. A hot water drill is going to be employed for the task and a well-qualified team of scientists and engineers is going to monitor the process.
The drilling till the liquid lake is going to be completed in three days’ time and then samples of water and sediments from the bottom of the lake would be extracted to carry out investigations on the presence of life in the deep lake. The research team is well-prepared to go for the expedition and has made all technical arrangements to perform the intended job.
“This is an incredibly exciting and terrifying time for us. There is nothing small about what we are doing, the scale is phenomenal. This time last year a small ‘advance party’ transported nearly 70 tones of equipment 16,000km from the UK to the drilling site. One year later, we will ship another 26 tones of equipment so we can complete stage two of this challenging field mission. We set foot on the ice again in October and hope to bring samples to the surface in December 2012,” Chris Hill, the mission’s program manager, said, as reported on independent.co.uk.
The expedition is going to be quite tough due to the extreme weather conditions in the Antarctic. The heavy machinery required for drilling is also difficult to transport to such a far away location. However, adequate arrangements have been made for the project team to stay there for the time of drilling. The team has been chosen to ensure good cohesion in the group and perfect skill for the task.
The initial analysis of the samples would be performed on the site and then detailed investigation would be done after bringing them to England in the research centers.
“If there is life in the lake we will know pretty much immediately and we will tell people about it. For the first time we are standing at the threshold of making new discoveries about a part of our planet that has never been explored in this way,” Professor Martin Siegert of Bristol University, the mission’s principal investigator, said.