Antarctica's Lake Ellsworth probed with new technology
16 January 2012 Last updated at 06:31 GMT
The project to explore the lost world of Lake Ellsworth, lying deep beneath the ice of Antarctica, involves developing unique technology to gather samples without causing contamination.
Sterilised to a higher standard than surgical instruments, the key equipment is being developed and built at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.
Our science correspondent David Shukman was given access to the clean room.