In a discovery at the bottom of the world that could have implications on the search for extraterrestrial life, researchers were astounded to find an amphipod swimming beneath a massive Antarctic ice sheet.
The amphipod—a shrimp-like creature—was caught on video swimming 600 feet below the ice, where the NASA team expected to find no higher life form than some microbes.
“We were operating on the presumption that nothing’s there,” NASA ice scientist Robert Bindschadler told the Associated Press. “It was a shrimp you’d enjoy having on your plate […] We were just gaga over it,”
The bright orange 3-inch Lyssianasid amphipod was precocious enough to land on the NASA camera’s cable.
The team also pulled up a tentacle which they believed belonged to a foot-long jellyfish—another animal they never expected to find in the hostile environment.
One of the questions related to this discovery is where do these species find food to survive on?
Whatever the answer turns out of be, researchers say that if higher life forms such as amphipods and jellyfish are capable of surviving in this hostile environment, it bodes well for discoveries on distant worlds.
Video of amphipod beneath Antarctic ice produced by the Associated Press.
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