A group of researchers started drilling through the ice of Antarctica, more precisely, through 2,430 feet of Antarctic ice. They wanted to reach the water underneath the ice but did not expect to find any form of life in the extremely cold, pitch-black darkness.
The researchers were surprised to see that underneath the ice were swimming fish and some types of crustaceans.
The scientists used a remote-controlled robot called Deep SCNI to drilled through the Arctic ice. The researchers are hoping to use the robot for future explorations of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
The Deep SCINI robot is tubular in shape and it took it 45 minutes to travel through the hole made by the scientists by pumping hot water through the Ross Ice Shelf.
The robot stopped when it reached the bottom, settling at three feet above it. At that depth, the robot managed to film approximately 30 fish that seemed to be very curious about the lights coming from the cameras. The robot can operate at depths of up to 6,500 feet.
The space where the robot was able to film the fish is between thousands of feet of ice and seabed. This makes it a very harsh environment where sunlight and food is almost impossible to find.
When the team of scientists discovered the fish and crustaceans swimming around they were very excited and started to applause. They were happy to find marine life in such extreme environments and also they were happy that the Deep SCINI robot was successful in its mission, especially since it was its first dive.
Apart from discovering animal life in so hostile an environment, the researchers also managed to gather samples and data in order to study the effects of the climate change on the Arctic ice sheets.
The Deep SCINI robot was created by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The previous robot has discovered a new species of anemone beneath the Antarctic ice. According to the experts, the previous robot could only dive into depths of up to 1,000 feet.
The Deep SCINI robot was funded by NASA to explore the ice shelves of Antarctica, hoping to prepare it for future exploration of Europa.
Image Source: computernerds