You know about Lake Vostok, yes? Of course you do. It's a pretty common conversation piece around the barber shop and coffee shop and corner bar. 14 million years old body of subglacial water the size of Lake Ontario, about a mile and a half below the surface ice. Super oxygenated and warmed by geothermal vents. Possibly filled with creatures (great and small) that don't know that we're coming, and probably don't want to be disturbed. Most definitely rife with evidence of life we've never seen before, left to evolve in an undisturbed crock pot for millions of years. Yeah, THAT Lake Vostok, which seems to be the lynch pin to the mystery and monumental potential of a frozen continent spinning alone and forgotten at the bottom of the world.
|Montage by Andrea Bonazzi|
It's the last sea level wilderness we have left, and now we're going to crack it open, poke a needle inside, and see what bubbles out. Humanity can't help itself. Its what humanity does, for good and for ill. We're going to take another bite of that apple, chew, swallow, and wait for the outcome.
We're going to see what's down there, deep under the ice, where it's been percolating undisturbed for eons. Will it be bacterium that greets us with wide, blinded eyes, or something a wee bit bigger?
In HPL's "At the Mountains of Madness," Captain Lake reported that his findings in Antarctica confirm his belief "that earth has seen whole cycles of organic life before known one that begins with Archaeozoic cells," and predicts that this "[w]ill mean to biology what Einstein has meant to mathematics and physics."
Will we find something alive? Or will we find remnants of something long dead? Which would flatten the world more, and make us re-examine everything we once thought about life, the past, and our place not just on this planet, but in the cosmos and beyond?