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. Shame

    I weep for humanity after reading half of these comments...

    March 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. booboo

    Yet again NASA is wasting the tax payers money on something that only benefits NASA and not the tax payers. From the time the NASA program was created they have done nothing to improve our life or help create jobs for people in need of help. I mean seriously, it's not like NASA helped create satellites or microwaves. If they did that, then maybe I could justify the tax payers money.
    In case you have not figured out that I am being sarcastic you were probably someone who would do away with NASA. Oh, by the way, without NASA there would not be the following: Improved Radial tires, advanced water filtration, BABY FOOD, modern thermometers, dust buster, advanced clothing material, THE COMPUTER YOUR ON, THE CELL PHONE YOU USE, and countless other inventions and patents. Now, don't you think there are a few American companies that make this stuff and employ tax paying Americans.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alex

    This sounds like Dan Browns book deception point. Unless this is a alien shrimp that came here on a meteorite, who gives a crap?

    March 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rita Book

    They better stop drilling so deep. They might go all they way through and end up upside down in China.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Harv

    That's not ours! I've seen the other picture and it clearly is not ours.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hoss

    What if the shrimp was just lost?

    March 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RND

    I think I preferred the world prior to having an active blogosphere where now all of America has a voice. There is beauty in the egalitarianism of it of course, but I think I was more comfortable not knowing just how ignorant some of my fellow Americans were. Some people really believe the Earth is 6000 years old and that life only exists on this one planet in the universe. Admittedly, the final point has not been proven yet, but maybe we will get there when we explore Europa. Drill Baby Drill!

    March 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. joshualudd

    Wow... thats pretty impressive. Its not even microscopic!

    March 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. George

    IN tomorrows news.... NASA's shrimp discovery was foiled. Turns out that one of the scientists was eating some Long John Silvers while peering down the 600 foot hole and one of the breaded shrimp fell out of the combo-pack. The error was discovered when they also found round looking blob (originally thought to be a jellyfish) which turned out to be a hush puppy with fries! LOL!

    March 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Heygood

    That picture, wasn't it somewhere else? Didn't we see it before?

    March 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Quick, someone kill it!

    March 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. t0rent0

    I think this should come as no surprise as we already know that there are living organisms in depths of up to 11,000 meters of water where the temperature is close to 4000 F.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dramamama

    Strongstrong–too funny!! That would be a new one for iced shrimp smoothie.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tana

    What NASA is DOING there in Antartica, drilling holes in the ice to look at the underneith are experiments that help them prepare for exploring techniques and possibly life froms on Europa and Titan. The fact that they found this shrimp under 600 Ft of ice is pretty amazing, not to mention the fact that it has an orange tint!

    Needless to say, most of the experiments and such that NASA has done four their Space ventures have been done on remote areas on our planet, whether under water, Craters of The Moon, or deserts. They utilize these remote areas to try to simulate possible environmets that they might come across on Mars, Titan, Europa, etc.

    My thoughts go to the poor shrimp though...poor thing was minding its own business, something punches through the ice and a camera pops through the might wonder what the shrimp was thinking at the time.."Ah...a day of swi...WTF is THAT?!?!?!"

    March 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JT

    All you guys who have posted on this story...I have some advice, get up from your chair, go to the nearest mirror and ask yourselves, 'Why am I commenting on such an insignificant story that is not only boring but worthless in its impact on anything?' better yet, ask yourselves, "what is wrong with me and how do I get to a happier place in my life?" I have never seen so many post on something so stupid. OMG...I just realized I just spent about 30 minutes reading through most of these!!..excuse me, I'm gonna go look for a mirror

    March 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
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