In the meantime, there is much work to be done while the ice remains.
Tulaczyk and his team hope to obtain samples from other subglacial lakes in order to compare findings. His colleagues will conduct sophisticated genetic analyses to learn how microbes survive in an isolated environment like Lake Whillans.
Space aliens may still be consigned to science fiction. But as Tulaczyk’s discovery reveals, we might have our own kinds of aliens right here on planet Earth.