March 16th, 2010
10:39 AM ET

NASA discovers life hidden 600 feet below Antarctic ice

A three-inch long Lyssianasid amphipod (seen in orange) was found on the underside of the McMurdo ice shelf in Antarctica.

Six hundred feet below the Antarctic ice, where no light can be found, NASA scientists made a startling discovery – a swimming shrimp-like creature that could challenge the idea of where and how forms of life can survive.

While the creature is small itself -– only about three inches long -– its impact could be tremendous.

A NASA team had lowered a small video camera to get the first-ever photograph of the underside of an ice shelf – and that’s when they saw the swimming creature, according to a NASA document.

The discovery could shake the very foundation of what kind of creatures can survive in certain atmospheres.

"We were operating on the presumption that nothing's there," NASA ice scientist Robert Bindschadler told the Associated Press. "It was a shrimp you'd enjoy having on your plate."

"We were just gaga over it," he told the AP.

The creature, a Lyssianasid amphipod, could lead the way for larger expeditions into harsher environments that scientists previously believed could not support life – both on the Earth and even frozen moons in outer space.

soundoff (608 Responses)
  1. Son of Quagmire

    Maybe we need to take notice cause they maybe getting prepared to move humans and other species to another planet before 2012. They may already have Noah's Ark II ready for space flight. The sun does increase in temperature 10% for every billion years and it is 4.5 billion years old already.

    March 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike S.

    I have some questions after reading this... is Lyssianasid amphipod a new species? Why is there no comment on how NASA uses the seas to test equipment that will then be used for space? What do we know about this shrimp? What does it eat? Is there other life around to support its biological needs? What are the conditions under the shelf other than near freezing and dark? How ignorant is the average person? (you're still reading? good for you!)

    March 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tim

    NASA – discovering something – is that part and parcel to what they are supposed to do? And tax dollars are used to pay for some of it? You don't say. Isn't that the way the government and its agencies are supposed to get funded? Anyway, NASA keep on exploring, finding new things, and keep us informed.

    March 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sal

    I'm getting hungry now. Let's throw some nets down there, looks like they'd be good in my shrimp chow mein.

    March 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CM

    Why drill holes in the ice? Just wait another 50 years or so and you could just use a glass bottomed boat. 🙂

    March 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kristine

    I love scientists. They take theory and turn it into fact – so therefore...it is. And now this! Hmm, could this mean that anything is possible???

    March 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. clh

    Why is it a surprise to scientists or anyone else that there might be lots of things that we haven't discovered about the universe we live in?

    March 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. psforever

    Poor shrimp escaped global warming.great idea for other global warming enthusiasts

    March 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Teri

    was a normal shrimp...not a new discovery....the discovery was where they found it and it was alive and thriving...

    March 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. melissa

    It cracks me up that a agency that is supposed to be exploring outer space is drilling holes 600 feet into the middle of earth.....go figure.

    March 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mari

    I took the shrimp comment as being something to compare what they found to for reference. It's one little "shrimp". It's not going to feed the world.

    March 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DaAdjunct

    "and that’s when they saw the swimming creature, according to a NASA document."

    Note the word "swimming".

    March 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RCF

    If we could stop spending money & human talent on nonsense like this....and if we could stop feeding, clothing, doctoring, etc, etc all of the jailed murderers, rapists, robbers, etc that are sapping our resources....we could cure many diseases and feed many hungry people in our country. And yes, OUR country, the USA...FIRST.

    March 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Carol

    I wonder what else is down there that likes shrimp as much as humans do! Wouldn't it have been a blast if something bigger was found, or ate the camera?

    March 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Milo

    MMMM Shrimp

    March 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
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