It's taken over 20 years but scientists drilling through the ice have finally reached lake Vostok.
In an achievement that has been likened to putting a man on the Moon, the Russian team of scientists have finally succeeded in reaching the hidden freshwater lake located deep down below the Antarctic ice. The team drilled down over 12,000ft at a location 800 miles east of the South Pole.
Because the cold, dark environment of the lake has been untouched for 20 million years, scientists hope it will provide a unique opportunity to study both ancient microbial life and to see what possibilities might exist for life below the icy surfaces of Europa and Enceladus.
"In the simplest sense, it can transform the way we think about life," said NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati.
Opening a scientific frontier miles under the Antarctic ice, Russian experts drilled down and finally reached the surface of a gigantic freshwater lake, an achievement the mission chief likened to placing a man on the moon ( via msnbc.msn.com ).