The Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Consortium is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council

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the engineering mission

Accessing this Antarctic lake is a unique engineering challenge. The engineers must design and build a water sampling probe, a sediment sampling corer and a hot water drill to create a borehole through 3 km of solid ice.    They have the added challenge of ensuring that none of this equipment contaminates the lake environment.

The most effective way to obtain rapid, clean access to Lake Ellsworth is to use hot water drilling technology. A drill hose and nozzle, pumping a high pressure jet of hot water is lowered slowly into the lake

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The lake-floor sediment is the most likely environment for finding life. A specially designed corer will drop down the hole, push into the sediment and bring samples back to the surface

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A probe will lowered down the hole made by the hot water drill.  Crammed with water sampling instruments and sensors it will collect water and data at pre-determined intervals as it passes down through the lake           read more

hot water drill

probe

sediment corer

hot water drill
probe
sediment corer
hot water drill
probe
sediment corer