Scientists find new evidence of life beneath Antarctic ice

The borehole showing the location where the drill broke through to Subglacial Lake Mercer.
The UV collar and borehole, showing the water of Subglacial Lake Mercer, from the SASA Project. Photo: Billy Collins, SALSA Science Team.

A research team drilling thousands of feet under the Antarctic Ice Sheet has found new evidence of microbial life there — life forms not known to exist elsewhere.

Why it matters: It's only the second subglacial lake in Antarctica to be explored, in an area as vast as twice the area of the continental U.S. That means scientists have to draw a lot of conclusions from drilling two holes — but it's the only way to learn about what kind of life exists in the mysterious world of subglacial lakes and rivers deep beneath the ice.

Relativity Space gets Air Force approval to use Cape Canaveral

Illustration of a Relativity rocket on Launch Pad LC-16 in Cape Canaveral.
Illustration of a Relativity rocket on Launch Pad LC-16 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Image: Relativity

Relativity Space, a venture-backed rocket company, has won Air Force approval to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida in an agreement announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Relativity Space differs from its competitors in that it relies on automated manufacturing to build its launch vehicles, which it hopes will dramatically lower the cost of access to space. It also puts Relativity Space in the company of NASA, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin for coveted Cape Canaveral real estate.

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