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Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

Scientists continue to unlock mysteries

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I fully admit a personal amazement with the work of the scientific community. Maybe I'm just a frustrated scientist at heart. All I lack is the intelligence, education and skills involved. Other than those minor issues, I find real interest in the work of those bright young men and women.

I just finished an Associated Press article that details the study of life deep under the thick ice of Antarctica. Scientists have been able to thaw bacteria and algae frozen for more than 2,800 years in the deep ice and return those organisms to life. Now to me, that's pretty darned amazing.

It seems there's this frozen lake in the Antarctic region that is covered with 62 feet of ice. Small life forms frozen in the ice have been thawed and brought to life in a laboratory. Now scientists want to dig a little deeper and take samples from the salty water itself that remains liquid below the ice sheet. But first they want to assure that no contamination from their equipment enters the dark, frozen region.

There's a method to the madness. If this experiment works, a similar probe may be undertaken on Mars which has an environment similar to the icy regions. The 2,800-year-old samples already studied may actually be much younger than those that might be uncovered in the frigid waters below. Interestingly, the water will not freeze because of the high salt content. So the scientific community is anxious to get their hands on whatever might lie below. That should occur next year.

All of this study is truly foreign to me. But it validates my amazement with those who have the talents to search this world for clues to our very beginning. I can't tell you right now just what practical applications these studies may hold but I can tell you that I'm glad someone has the intelligence to unlock those lost mysteries in the hopes it will make for a better world tomorrow.

Until then, I'm still trying to find my 8th grade science book. I still may have time.



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