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. scott morley

    Joshua G says...So this is waht NASA spends money on?
    Yes Joshua. You would prefer money spent on bombs and missles and boated defense budgets I take it?

    March 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sci-fi

    OH Master, It's Alive I Tell you! It's alive!
    Go Quickly Igore and get me my plate and a bottle of Heinz and we shall feast.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Randy Riches

    After reading a few of the posts on this board it's easy to see why America is in trouble. STUPID PEOPLE. Im convinced that most of the posters are mentally challenged. One person commented "What are the limits? That thing could carry a germ that could wipe us out...
    Do the benefits of that kind of exploration outweigh the risk?" ... seriously. So we should just stop exploring and trying to learn about the planets origin for fear of germs? Have you thought for a second that exploring, discovering and getting a better understanding of the world is exactly what will help us down the line? So shortsighted. For the love of humanity, some of you people should seriously think twice about reproducing.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sunflower

    NASA includes the Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) program "to develop a scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response to natural and human-induced changes to enable improved prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards for present and future generations. Also, the drilling was 600 feet through the ice; they are not drilling for oil with a camcorder, please.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. twodownonetogo

    Comment 203 see comment 166. We are both good with the obvious! You just spell better.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nasababy

    Let Mikey try it!

    March 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    A couple of points based on the comments

    1. Why bother, waste of money – No, it is not a waste of money. These organisms likely hold keys to completely unique processes (e.g. enzymes that can function in extreme cold or pressure)

    2. Risk for taking over other environments – very low risk – usually these type of organisms have adapted to extreme environments such that they cannot live in others

    March 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    O.K. Let's build rockets that will travel to the rest of the planets and moons without testing anything. Lets spend billions on space exploration and when something goes wrong (which always does), everyone says what a waste of a billion dollars...they should have thought of that! Hello, Hellen!!! An investment in millions to research these harsh environments will save potentially billions later....and maybe lead to marvellous disciveries..................Is it that hard to understand...

    March 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    I hope they locate a delicious fillet mignon and baked potato floating around down there too...

    March 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pete

    If they could catch him, that would be the most expensive Shrimp Cocktail ever.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. defone32

    can you say "bubba love new shrimp, real big like in ocean"

    March 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Holly

    Its an actual living creature that they found alive, not buried in ice.

    How cool is that :).

    Btw, its not a NEW creature, or it wouldn't already have a name. They just didn't think they'd ever find anything living there, especially that shrimp, apparently.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Grammar Doc

    Do any of you proofread your postings before you hit submit?

    March 16, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JC

    Spending all this money on 'research' and 'science' is such a waste when we could be spending it on invading foreign countries for oil.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MikQuick

    for AlwyzAtChrch – I hope for your sake that we dont find life on another planet – wouldn't that just send you over the edge? we wold have to compare that planet's 2nd youngest and 3rd most poular religeon's bible to see if they mentioned us in it – to maybe find out why there is no mention of them in yours. FYI – this is a scientific story/discussion – religeous beliefs have no place here – liken them to referencing fairry tales included in a law enforcment investigation if that makes any sense to you. yeah, yeah i know – im going to hell, blah blah blah – scary scary

    March 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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