Little Shrimp Makes Big Splash Beneath Antarctica

A JPL-designed camera submerged 600 feet beneath the Antarctic ice sheet to image its underbelly has yielded an unexpected find -- a shrimp. A JPL-designed camera submerged 600 feet beneath the Antarctic ice sheet to image its underbelly has yielded an unexpected find -- a shrimp. Image Credit: NASA
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March 17, 2010

JPL researcher Alberto Behar got more than he bargained for when he and fellow researchers from NASA and the National Science Foundation submerged a small camera he designed 183 meters (600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet in November 2009 to image its underbelly. The video captured an unexpected visitor -- a pinkish-orange shrimp creature, known as a Lyssianasid amphipod, swimming beneath the ice.

Behar designed the original NASA borehole camera apparatus in 1999. It has now seen six deployments with British, Australian and American science teams in Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska. He plans to take this new camera rig to Antarctica's Pine Island glacier, and hopes to eventually probe into Antarctica's mysterious sub-glacial lakes. There he'll attach a fiber-optically tethered micro-submarine with high-resolution camera, "so we can swim within the lake."

Behar, also known for his work on robotic exploration of Mars, remarked, "The real benefit of these exploration programs is that you go in not knowing what you're going to find and you get surprised. It makes it worth all the trouble putting everything together when you find something new that you didn't expect."

Read more at: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/antarctic-shrimp.html



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