Lake drilling for Organisms by the British Antarctic Survey 2012


Eoin Drinan speaks to Doctor DAVID PEARCE microbiologist from the British Antarctic Survey about the project and where it began. They speak about how “waterbodies” found in the area may contain life. Now that drilling techniques have advanced they speak about the possibility of drilling up to 3 km down into the ice. Temperatures make work difficult and the lake is under extreme levels of pressure.

They speak about trying to describe the limits for life and how the more they know about life on this planet, the better prepared we will be for exploration on other planets in a search for life. They speak about what an average days work might consist of including waking at 7am, quick breakfast at 7.30am then setup and laying camp, getting the generators running, melting water for the drill to use, tea break to take on fluids, finish at 7pm and catch up with where they are according to their time schedule with the 12 people working on site. When they begin drilling they work shift work – 6 men on and 6 men off.

They speak about how long they will have to collect samples when they reach their depth before the hole freezes over again.

They will also be looking at the effect of Global warming with particular focus on the trans antarctic mountains and the ice sheet located there.

They then speak about needing to cause the minimum impact on the environment which they are exploring and the need for clean technology – trying to prevent adding any micro organisms to the area which may have been transported from elsewhere. For instance,  micro organisms which may be present on the probe, which they sterilise.



Duration: 18'04" DATE: September 20, 2012
Interviewer:Eoin Drinan
Producer:Eoin Drinan
Interviewee:David Pearce
Themes:Global Issues with a Local Focus
Keywords:antarctic, british antarctic survey, search for life, drilling for life organisms, cold weather work, clean technology, global warming, microbiology, micro organisms, Doctor David Pearce
LocationAntarctic Time Period:2012
Type:Sound Language:English
Creator:Near FM Publisher:Near FM
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.