British scientists abandon efforts to explore a pristine lake sitting beneath two miles of Antarctic ice.

It was a scientific breakthrough when a Russian team broke through some 12,365 ft. of ice to tap Lake Vostok, buried under Antarctica for 14 million years last February. The U.S. and Great Britain soon followed with efforts to tap into similar buried lakes in the hopes of finding ancient forms of life. Sadly, on Christmas Day, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) announced the shuttering of their operations due to technical problems.

The BAS had positioned their attempt over Lake Ellsworth, sitting two miles underneath the Antarctic ice. The ambitious location was very specific choice as it is believed this lake may hold older microbes — critical for learning more about our Earth’s development — and what might be found in hostile environments on icy planets.

Trust me, guys.  It’s probably for the best.

Today in This Cannot Possibly Go Wrong…

Project Prometheus was established in 2003 by NASA to develop nuclear-powered systems for long-duration space missions. This was NASA’s first serious foray into nuclear spacecraft propulsion since the cancellation of the NERVA project in 1972. The project was cancelled in 2005.[1] Its budget shrank from $430 million in 2005 to only $100 million in 2006, $90 million of which was for closeout costs on cancelled contracts.

Dear NASA:

Wise decision.

Sincerely, humanity.

More Scientific Discoveries Ruined By Fandom

Planet Made of Diamonds Likely to Have Oxygen, Carbon

By IB Times Staff Reporter: Subscribe to IB’s

August 29, 2011 10:05 AM EDT

In what can be called a “gem of a discovery”, astronomers found a rare planet made of diamonds, which would likely have oxygen apart from carbon. The carbon-based planet lies 4,000 light years away, in the constellation of Serpens in our Milky Way galaxy.

The new planet, which is far denser than any other known so far, races around a tiny unusual star called a pulsar. The planet’s high density suggests that lighter elements like hydrogen and helium are not present.

Knock knock…

This Cannot Possibly Go Wrong, Mars Edition

NASA’s Phoenix Lander finds ice on Mars

The Mars Phoenix Lander has found ice on the surface of the Red Planet raising hopes of finding evidence of life forms.

Fandom ruins everything.

On the one hand, confirmation of the existence of water ice on Mars is a crazy big deal for science, and an amazing, fascinating discovery.

Unfortunately, though, the very first thought to pop into my mind upon reading of the Phoenix Lander’s find was that this:

Plus this:

NASA Planning One-Way Manned Mission to Mars

Oct 27, 2010 – 5:18 PM
Text Size
(Oct. 27) — We are going to Mars and not coming back.

At a recent event in San Francisco, NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden introduced the Hundred Year Starship initiative, a project to embark on a one-way mission from Earth to Mars by 2030 and permanently settle the red planet.
Equals this:

Too Greedily and Too Deep

Explanation: Scientists are melting holes in the bottom of the world. In fact, almost 100 holes melted near the South Pole are now being used as astronomical observatories. Astronomers with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory lowered into each vertical lake a long string knotted with basketball-sized light detectors. The water in each hole soon refreezes. The detectors attached to the strings are sensitive to blue light emitted in the surrounding clear ice. Such light is expected from ice collisions with high-energy neutrinos emitted by objects or explosions out in the universe.

…in what crack-smoking universe is this NOT the premise of a Lovecraftian sci-fi horror story?

(via APOD)