South Pole May Provide Test For Mars Drilling SpaceDaily

Measurements of the ice temperature far below the South Pole suggest that a so-called “lake” discovered at the base of the ice is most likely permafrost – a frozen mixture of dirt and ice – because the temperature is too low for liquid water. Far from being a disappointment, says a University of California, Berkeley physicist, the permafrost subglacial lake may be ideal for developing and testing sterile drilling techniques needed before scientists attempt to punch through the ice into pristine liquid lakes elsewhere in Antarctica in search of exotic microbes. Techniques that avoid contaminating a drill site with microbes also would prove useful for future drilling into Mars’ polar caps in search of life.