Lake Vostok and the search for extraterrestrial life

When Russian geographer and Antarctic explorer Andrey Kapitsa travelled to Vostok Station in 1959 he was looking for evidence of a subglacial lake that was first proposed by Russian scientist Peter Kropotkin at the end of the 19th century.  Whilst Kropotkin was not able to specify the location of  subglacial lakes, he theorised that masses of fresh water could be trapped far below the Antarctic ice sheets.  He believed that the massive pressure of thousands of meters of solid ice would mean that temperatures at the bottom of the ice sheet would be high enough to create isolated water lakes. Continue reading