We are interested in Lake Vida because it is an extreme environment.
Several features make it a place where it is difficult to live:
- The water is about 6 times more saline than seawater;
- The lake has been isolated from the surface environment (and the resources there) for a long time;
- It is cold, -14 ºC (7 ºF) year round;
- It’s dark. The ice cover is thick enough and there is enough sediment that all light is blocked.
Where There is Water, There is Life
On Earth there is a scientific mantra “where there is water, there is life”. There are only a few documented exceptions to this rule, and they are often controversial. Is Lake Vida one of these exceptions, or is there a viable microbial community there? Answers to this question are very important to the question of origins, evolution, and survival of life on Earth and on frozen extraterrestrial planets and satellites (i.e. moons and asteroids).