Welcome To The Harmless Ice Monster Project

29 Jan

You don’t have to worry, because it’s not like a monster movie at all.  As you can see by this BBC article Lake Vostok Drilling in Antarctic ‘Running Out of Time’, all that the ragtag group of scientists are doing is drilling into a mysterious lake which has been locked away under the Antarctic ice, completely unchanged for fifteen million years.

And if a monster movie were going on, then how likely would it be that the movie would start one week before the deadly Antarctic winter cuts the entire site off from civilization for months? 

It’s called Lake Vostok and it is a little over two miles beneath the ice.  I guess the way it works is that the ice is so thick it traps geothermal heat beneath it, creating a vast igloo full of water and dinosaurs.  What do you say we go on down there and start poking stuff into it?

No need.  The Russians are already on it.   

Actually, they came pretty close to drilling all the way in, around twelve years ago.  Then they had to stop because they uncovered strange microorganisms in the core samples – again, there is nothing Monster Movie about that, so quit smirking – and they became concerned about contaminating the pristine environment.  Sounds backward to me, but yes, you heard them.  They’re worried about hurting the monsters. 

See, microorganisms could mean an ecosystem – more complex organisms, all kinds of stuff.  For example:

I didn’t mean to scare you there, but it didn’t seem to me like you were taking me seriously enough.  We can stick our heads in the snow like ostriches who are really lost, or we can look right in the face at what our fellow human beings are screwing around with.

Look at him, damn it!  Do you think this is a game?

All right, I’m sorry.  Come back.  That’s probably not going to be what the ice monster looks like anyway, because he’s probably going to be more like a dinosaur.  But it would be pretty arrogant to assume that magnificent creature up there can’t swim.  When you assume something like that on an ice monster mission, you make an ass out of U and Me.

That’s definitely how the Russian scientists see it.  Here you can see them engaged in a time-honored, zero-tolerance, highly disciplined Ice Monster Preparation Protocol:

So, clearly the Ice Monster Project is in the right hands.  These guys are so serious and focused and single-minded in purpose, that I’ve been sitting and staring at this photo of them before I go to sleep.  It makes me feel serene.  Yes, there is evil and ice monsterality in the world – but there’s an elite force out there to do battle with it. 

Anyway, eventually they figured out a monster-friendly method for drilling into Lake Vostak without contaminating it.  It’s basically a gargantuan condom they put over the drill.

No, it isn’t – can you imagine?  Heh.  Actually they spend a stylistically questionable length of time in the article describing how they really do it.  It seems especially questionable when I can sum in up by telling you they pretty much take a shop vac down there with them.

So, it looks like it took around six or seven years to hammer out the Super Sucky Drill Protocol in all it’s glorious detail, and now they’re at it again. 

Apparently, even the ice is mysterious at that depth.  They’re currently drilling at a rate of just 1.6 meters a day into “pure frozen lake water, composed of huge round monocrystals of a metre or more in diameter and as hard as glass.”  Usually when you’re drilling into something super weird, there’s just normal stuff behind it, right?

Naturally, there are still squawkers wearing lab coats and talking with their noses plugged, who reason that since we’ve basically crapped every place on the planet that wasn’t locked under two miles of ice, maybe it’s not so responsible to go drilling a new toilet into the joint. 

The Russians scientists on the other hand are pretty sure everything’s fine, and they don’t think we should worry about it.  “It’s our freaking monster lake,” they were most certainly not quoted as saying. “How about we worry about our drilling projects, and you worry about yours?”

So anyway, now they’ve got a week left and just about a week’s worth of drilling to do before the seasons change and they have to airlift out of there.  Apparently, we have a whole crew of scientists out there who have never seen The Thing, Thirty Days of Night, Reign of Fire, Alien Vs. Predator, Leviathan, Sharktopus, or Godzilla, so they’re not worried about getting eaten one-by-one and then filling the drill shaft with natural gas from a pocket they found earlier in the movie and then blasting out of the shaft on a snowmobile just as a cloud of fire erupts behind them and then barely making it to the helicopter as the flaming ice monster jumps out again and goes ROOOAAARRRRR, and then having to shoot it with a really remarkably powerful flare gun and tell it, “Ice to see you again!”

It’s like there’s no talking to them in that regard.  When I Skyped the brilliant, smoking hot scientist girl in charge of Environmental Concerns, she said that if anything went wrong, they would all put on SCUBA gear and split up, and a couple of them would probably just find a place to make out, and that there was a single kind-hearted African American male on staff they could send down to restart the generator, if it kicked off mysteriously and there was a thumping noise.

“He’ll be fine,” she assured me.

So, I guess they’re all squared away out there.  It’s nothing for us to worry about – not even Katia Moskvitch, the writer of the article, is worried about it.  It’s very exciting, she tells us, because “sampling the waters could also move us a step closer to the understanding of similar glacial conditions at one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa.”

Yes, that’s excellent.  Make sure you don’t worry about ice monsters when you’re screwing around on Europa, either. 

You know, another bunch of knuckleheads is planning to clone a mammoth, right?  So it’s going to get pretty monstertastic up in here this century anyway.

Might as well get on board.  These are scientists.  They know what they’re doing.


And an update posted later:  Nothing To See At Project Ice Monster


Posted by on January 29, 2011 in Lake Vostak, News/Commentary


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “Welcome To The Harmless Ice Monster Project

  1. Magnificent Minimalist

    January 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    How did I never discover you before? I love you!

    Also, I laughed. It was kind of Disney-princess giggle, all sparkling and feminine and stuff.

    • Tom Chalfant

      January 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      See, now that right there is a perfect comment from start to finish. Thank you and welcome!

  2. robertgbobo

    January 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Stop it Magnificent, I know you are a shill. Bro-I thought you had the whole LSD problem under control?

  3. Brian

    January 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Andromeda strain? 12 monkeys? uh oh…


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