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Lake Vostok micro-organism, SEM

Lake Vostok micro-organism, SEM

B245/0008

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Credit

MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Lake Vostok micro-organism. Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of an as yet unidentified micro- organism discovered in ice from Lake Vostok, Antarctica. This freshwater lake is trapped beneath up to 4 kilometres of ice, and may harbour a unique ecosystem. The lake's water stays liquid due to geothermal heat, and has been isolated from the rest of the world for millennia. The ice cores containing the specimens were up to 400,000 years old. This organism, nicknamed "sphere", may be new to science. Lakes of water under ice are also thought to exist on Jupiter's moon Europa. Magnification: x3500 when printed 10cm wide.

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