"Russian scientists have drilled into the vast, dark and never-
before-touched Lake Vostok 2.2 miles below the surface of Antarctica, the state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti said Monday."
"“Yesterday, our scientists stopped drilling at the depth of 3,768 meters and reached the surface of the subglacial lake,” the news agency quoted a source as saying. The team had “finally managed to pierce” the ice sheet into Vostok, the source said.
The report could not be verified Monday, but numerous Antarctica experts in the United States said they were hearing the same unconfirmed news. Sergei Lesenkov, spokesman for the Arctic and Antarctic Scientific Research Institute, told Agence France-Presse in Moscow on Monday that there was the possibility of a “fundamental scientific development.”
It has taken the Russians more than 20 years to drill into the lake, operating in some of the most brutal weather conditions in the world. Their reported accomplishment comes just as the Antarctic summer ends at Vostok and the cold becomes so great that machinery can’t be operated and airplanes can’t come in or go out."