Lake Ellsworth was identified as a potential target for exploration about eight years ago. The consortium of British universities that's carrying out the program secured the funding they needed to begin preparing an expedition.
A Russian team on Feb. 5 penetrated more than 3.7 kilometers of ice to reach the waters of Lake Vostok, another body of water underneath Antarctica. That group collected samples of "fresh frozen" water, according to the country's Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute. They have yet to publicize any findings.