Scientists from Bristol University attempting to drill beneath Antarctica in a search for undiscovered life, have called off their mission.
They were trying to drill through 3 kilometres of ice to reach the water and mud underneath Lake Ellsworth.
But late on Christmas Eve the decision was taken to stop. Adam Grierson reports:
Professor Martin Siegert said the aborted mission was "hugely frustrating":
A team of Bristol scientists has called off its mission to drill deep into an Antarctic ice sheet in the hope of finding life in an ancient lake.
A group of Bristol scientists in Antarctica may have to abandon their project after equipment failure.
The team is trying to drill deep into a lake of ice in the hope of finding undiscovered life. They travelled with enough fuel for one attempt but the drill has stopped working.
The drilling has begun today - and the team have just 24 hours to gather samples before the borehole refreezes. And all in -25 C. Tanya Mercer's report contains video from Pete Bucktrout British Antarctic Survey
Scientists from Bristol University are in Antarctica on a mission that could hold the clue to whether there's life on Mars. They're drilling through 3km of solid ice to try to find lifeforms in the water and mud underneath Lake Ellsworth.
It's not often you'll see pictures like this. This is the team of scientists from Bristol arriving in Antarctica on their mission to drill the ice cap.
It was filmed by Pete Bucktrout of the British Antarctic Survey and shows the plane touching down and the surveyors heading off to their icy camp.
Professor Martin Siegart from Bristol University is leading a team who are about to drill through 3km of solid ice into subglacial Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica. Their mission is to search for life forms in the water and clues to past climate in the lake-bed sediments.
A team of scientists from Bristol University is preparing to drill through 3km of solid ice into subglacial Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica. Their mission is to search for life forms in the water and clues to past climate in the lake-bed sediments.
The University says it's one of the most exciting and ambitious explorations of our time. The team will have just 24 hours to sample the lake before the borehole re-freezes and re-seals the lake. Typical working conditions will be in minus 25°C and 25 knot winds.
They'll be using a a state-of-the-art titanium water-sampling probe and a bespoke sediment corer capable of being lowered down a three kilometre borehole in the ice made by a custom-built hot-water drill.
To add to the challenge every piece of technology has to be sterilised to space industry standards to ensure this unexplored lake remains pristine. For regular updates on the team's progress, visit the Lake Ellsworth blog.