Riddle of the Russian scientists drilling into ‘alien’ Antarctic lake buried under ice for 20 million years who have been out of radio contact for five days

Hidden: A satellite image of Lake Vostok which has been buried under ice for 20million years. Russian scientists are on the verge of breaking through

A team of Russian scientists has mysteriously lost contact with colleagues in the U.S. as they drill into a lake buried beneath the Antarctic ice for 20 million years.

The scientists had been battling conditions of minus 66C at Lake Vostok, as they raced to drill into a lake buried two miles beneath the ice before the weather closed in. The scientists hope the lake’s untouched water will reveal more about life on our planet 20 million years ago.

The lake, in the most inhospitable region of the planet, is kept liquid by geothermal heat under the ice and its conditions are often described as ‘alien’ because they are thought to be akin to the subterranean lakes on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Their radio silence has conjured chilling echoes of classic horror film The Thing, where scientists dig up a buried spacecraft in the Antarctic ice, only to unleash an extraterrestrial horror within.

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