Sealed-Off Lake Still Tantalizingly Out of Reach

The Russian team that has been drilling for 24 hours a day to reach the sub-glacial Lake Vostok that lies at the bottom of a 3750-meter-thick ice sheet in Antarctica has come up 29.53 meters short. The team must now pack their bags and board an airplane before temperatures drop so low that the plane’s hydraulic liquid freezes, leaving researchers stranded until next spring. The researchers will rest up, reacquaint themselves with their families, and prepare for the next Antarctic summer, when it is hoped the drill head will puncture the pristine waters to reveal new life forms.

Valery Lukin, head of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg says, "There is no frustration," and quoted Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian Arctic explorer: “The highest virtue of a polar explorer is the skill of waiting."