With all the fuss about finding new lifeforms-usually microscopic-on other planets, it’s easy for us to forget about that happening here. Fortunately, the latest discovery made in Lake Vostok, Russia reminded us that this blue ball we call home is still full of surprises. After analysis of a subglacial lake drilled into back in 2012, scientists have discovered a staggering 3,507 microscopic organisms, all from an array of different species of bacteria, fungi, and single-celled organisms, many of these being typically found in the digestive systems of fish, crustaceans, and annelid worms. What’s more, many of these were previously unheard of, meaning we still don’t
You’d think that a place like Vostok, isolated and frozen solid for over 15 million years, wouldn’t have much to offer anyone, let alone the scientific community. But this discovery, as Dr. Scott Rogers of Bowling Green University said, shows that, “the bounds on what is habitable and what is not are changing.” Evolution is truly a fascinating phenomenon whose results speak for themselves and somehow gives us hope for the future as we probe the planets around us for signs of life and work to gain a better understanding of our own planet. The near-perfect condition of Lake Vostok due its being frozen over should also shed more light on the origin of species and, by extension, Earth’s history; this isn’t just a win for biologists, but also for geologists and chemists interested in examining the composition and rock formations that have been around for so long. That’s what I love about science: everybody plays their part and everybody wins-unless some douchebag comes along and tries to pull an Edison.
Cynicism aside, this discovery should be seen as a watershed moment in our quest for discovery and exploration that will not only help us better understand our home but also our planetary neighborhood for when we finally decide go exploring it. Until we finally get our shit together and build starships using Nasa’s research on FTL flight,
Y’all take care now