Multiple Expeditions Race to Find Life Under Antarctic Ice

Teams from the US, Russia and Britain

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A hundred years ago, two teams of explorers set out to be the first people ever to reach the South Pole. The race between Roald Amundsen of Norway and Robert Falcon Scott of Britain became the stuff of triumph, tragedy, and legend. (See rare pictures of Scott's expedition.)

Today, another Antarctic drama is underway that has a similar daring and intensity—but very different stakes.

Three unprecedented, major expeditions are underway to drill deep through the ice covering the continent and, researchers hope, penetrate three subglacial lakes not even known to exist until recently.