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Jan 22 2014

Must be Aliens: Robot Discovers New Life Under Antartica

ku-xlargeBack in 2010 the National Science Foundation was doing a lot of experimental drilling in Antarctica. We knew about the drilling back then, at least I did because I pay attention, but the report on what was found was just released last month. I’m guessing this is because the scientists needed time to edit the boom mics out of all the shots. Don’t worry, they got a new sound guy for future video fabrication.

A research robot out on a routine test inadvertently stumbled upon a never-before-seen species of sea anemone living upside down in Antarctic ice.

The tiny sea anemones were discovered by a cylindrical robot called SCINI (Submersible Capable of under Ice Navigation and Imaging). The bot, which is part of the National Science Foundation’s ANDRILL Antarctic drilling program, was sent down a hole drilled through 885 feet (270 meters) of the Antarctic Ross Ice Shelf.

In addition to the sea anemone, SCINI discovered fish that swim upside down (with the ice acting as a floor), polychaete worms, amphipods, and a bizarre (and still unidentified organism) the researchers are calling the “egroll;” it’s shaped like a tiny cylinder that bumped along the ice among the anemones.

So all joking aside, that’s pretty cool, freezing in fact. Life amazes me in how it always finds a way. And that it refuses to find a way to a more hospitably climate. I wonder if the upside down fish isn’t allowed to telecommute either, that’s why he doesn’t move away.

Hit the jump for a video.

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