(15 Mar 2010)
Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf, Antarctica - December 2009
1. Shrimp-like creature swimming around camera cable inside bore hole
Greenbelt, Maryland, USA - 12 March 2010
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Robert Bindschadler, NASA Ice Scientist: (++AUDIO OVERLAID OVER PREVIOUS SHOT++)
"What the video shows is the view of the bottom of a bore hole through about a 200 metre thick ice shelf close to McMurdo Station. And so while we were looking at the video examining the hole, lo and behold this marine organism came swimming by. I called it a shrimp-like thingy, because I don''t know anything about marine biology. But it was just fascinating to see this amphipod, is what it''s actually, its proper name is, swimming around and being very curious, looking at the cable and we were all huddled around the monitor just fascinated with what we were seeing at the bottom of our hole. Well, when I showed this to a marine biologist she was quite surprised because we are a long way from the open ocean - about 20 miles (32 kilometres) - and this is a higher life form, this is pretty far up the food chain and if it is swimming around that means that there is quite a lot of life at this location and that was a surprise to us because it was a surprise to them. One of the funny things about this was that we were staring at it and it was probably, we had lots of questions in our mind and it probably had lots of questions in its mind. It probably was just swimming along and something new and different showed up in front of it and so it was extremely curious. It was swimming around and sitting on the cable and looking at it from every angle, going up and down and I''m sure this was a very interesting day in the life of that amphipod, as it was for us. Yeah, this was not the only indication of life there. We lowered this camera almost all the way to the seafloor, we didn''t have quite enough cable to go the full 800 metres (2624 feet), and when we pulled the cable up we also saw what looked like tentacles from a jellyfish attached to the cable. So, there is a lot of life down there and I think we don''t really know the first thing about it. It''s a entirely new frontier for us to explore."
Scientists have discovered a shrimp-like creature and a jellyfish deep beneath a massive Antarctic ice sheet.
Six hundred feet (180 metres) below the ice where no light shines, scientists had thought nothing much more than a few microbes could exist.
But a NASA team was surprised when they lowered a video camera to get the first long look at the underbelly of the ice sheet in Antarctica.
A curious shrimp-like creature came swimming by and then parked itself on the camera''s cable.
Scientists also pulled up a tentacle they believe came from a foot-long jellyfish.
NASA ice scientist Robert Bindschadler, who will be presenting the initial findings and a video at an American Geophysical Union meeting on Wednesday said his team was operating on the presumption that nothing was living underneath the ice sheet.
"This is a higher life form, this is pretty far up the food chain and if it is swimming around that means that there is quite a lot of life at this location and that was a surprise," he said of the 3-inch-long, orange creature starring in their two-minute video.
The creature is not actually a shrimp, but a Lyssianasid amphipod, which is distantly related to shrimp.
The video is likely to inspire experts to rethink what they know about life in harsh environments.
Ellis-Evans said it''s possible the creatures swam in from far away and don''t live there permanently.
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(15 Mar 2010)