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. STRONGSTRONG

    It was from Forest Gump's shrimp harvest and got blown away by hurricane. He was looking for it everywhere!

    March 16, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Skipper

    A shrimp is a creature that eats smaller typically organic material, any idea what this was eating?

    March 16, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Justin

    Corey–So true.

    And indicative of how feeble we, as a species, still are. It's a really cool discovery nonetheless.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. james

    amazing just think maybe the moon of jupiter that they say have a liquid ocean might have these type of creatures

    March 16, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. anon

    IF science was even smarter they would stop telling the media about all this and keep the darn thing safe.someone will try to catch them and eat them now.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. kate

    Is this Lyssianasid amphipod a previously known creature? What is it's usual habitat?

    March 16, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. questions

    So does the science community still have thier heads wrapped around "life," and creation. This may throw them for a loop.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Christian

    It was swimming. It was alive. Very cool. I wish they mentioned what the temperature of the water was- I would guess sub-freezing, but since it's saltwater it's not frozen? Any experts?

    March 16, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. NoCorey

    You're thinking about eating it, the author is only giving an example of how large the shrimp is.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. AlwyzAtChrch

    Only God can create this creature, stop trying to think with science. It doesn't make sense.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. Marco

    Ice fishing is actually pretty fun.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. gary

    That money could have been used to help the Americans who need it, not on some stupid project like that so NASA can have a job---Idiots.
    Thats our wonderful Goverment at work.
    And we keep volting them in office--go figure.

    March 16, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. amigay

    What part of 'swimming' don't you understand?

    March 16, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Frank

    NASA has an interest in hearty marine life because..............?

    The Antarctic must be a pretty important place huh?

    March 16, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. richard jalette

    I wonder how much it cost to find out there was a shrimp 600 feet below the ice shelf?

    March 16, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
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