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Dry Valleys of Antarctica
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Dry Valleys of Antarctica
McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica
December 1999
Life can survive in very cold places. In the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, life survives on barren rocks and in lakes that lie beneath layers of ice. During the summer, temperatures in Antarctica are briefly high enough to melt glacial ice. The melt water drains into lakes at the bottom of the valleys. The lakes stay liquid all year and microorganisms thrive in the water. Scientists have been studying the Dry Valleys to better understand how life may exist on other planets. Comparisons have also been made between the Dry Valleys and possible forms of life that may have existed on Mars and on Europa, a moon of Jupiter.
Courtesy Robert Simmon, NASA/GSFC Landsat 7 Science Team
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Satisfies National Science Education Standards: Unifying Concepts and Processes: Change, constancy, and measurement; Science as Inquiry: Understandings about scientific inquiry; Physical Science: Properties and changes of properties in matter; Life Science: Diversity and adaptations of organisms
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