A remarkable event occurred in 1999, but only specialists paid adequate attention to it. A research expedition discovered a virus in Antarctica; at that, neither people nor animals had immunity to the virus. After all, Antarctica is far away, for this very reason the virus cannot be dangerous for the rest of the planet, especially the dangerous discovery was deep in the permafrost. However, scientists say that against the background of a global warming threatening the Earth, the unknown virus can cause an awful catastrophe on the planet.
Expert Tom Starmerue from the University of New York also shares the pessimistic forecasts of his colleagues. “We don’t know what the mankind will face in the South Pole in the nearest time due to the global warming. It is not ruled out that an unbelievable catastrophe may break out. Viruses protected with a protein cover survive even in the permafrost; as soon as the temperature gets warmer they will immediately start reproducing.”
American scientists treated the Antarctica discovery very seriously and even organized a special expedition that currently tests the ice for unknown viruses in order to develop an antidote in good time. What is the source of the virus in Antarctica where only penguins can survive in the ice? There is no answer to the question, specialists are at a loss. However, several theories concerning the problem have been put forward. We would like to touch upon the most interesting of them.
Majority of scientists are inclined to believe that prehistoric forms of life probably survived in the permafrost. There are more versions that are interesting and sometimes quite unusual. Some specialists blame bonzes of the Third Reich for delivery of a secretly developed bacteriological weapon to Antarctica. And this theory arose not in a vacuum. It is known that already in 1938 Nazis suddenly became interested in Antarctica, they organized two expeditions to the area in 1938-1939. At first, planes of the Third Reich took detailed pictures of unexplored territories and then they dropped several thousands of metal pennons with swastika there.
The whole of the explored territory was called Neuschwabenland and was considered a part of the Third Reich. After the expedition, Captain Ritscher reported to Field-Marshal Hering: “The planes dropped the pennons each 25 kilometers; we covered the area of about 8.600 thousand square meters. 350 thousand square meters of them were photographed.” In 1943, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz dropped a remarkable phrase: “Germany's submarine fleet is proud that it created an unassailable fortress for the Fuhrer on the other end of the world.” It highly likely means that Nazis were building a secret base in Antarctica within 1938-1943. Submarines were mostly used for transportation of necessary freight to the place. As specialists for the Third Reich wrote, at the end of WWII the submarines were relieved of their torpedo arms in the port of Kiel and then were loaded with containers with different goods. The submarines also received passengers whose faces were hidden behind surgical bands.
Wilhelm Bernhard was commander of one of the submarines, U-530; the submarine left the port of Kiel on April 13, 1945. When it reached the shores of Antarctica, 16 members from the crew built an ice cave and put boxes into the cave; it was allegedly said that the boxes contained relics of the Third Reich, including Hitler’s documents and personal stuff. The operation was code named Valkyrie-2. When the operation was over on July 10, 1945, the submarine U-530 entered the Argentinean port of Mar-del-Plata and surrendered to the authorities.
It is also supposed that another submarine from the formation, U-977, under the command of Heinz Scheffer delivered the remains of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun to Neuschwabenland. It followed the route of the U-530 submarine and called at Antarctica. The submarine arrived in Mar-del-Plata on August 17, 1945. But the version of Wilhelm Bernhard and Heinz Scheffer saying that the submarines delivered relics to the Antarctica shores (both captains told it at the interrogations held by the American and British intelligence services) seems rather dubious. It is unlikely that the serious operation was designed only for the sake of delivery of the Third Reich documents and relics. In many years, special services seized a confidential letter of Captain Scheffer to his friend, Captain Wilhelm Bernhard who obviously planned to publish his memoirs. The letter was dated with June 1, 1983. It runs as follows: “Dear Willy, I was thinking if it is reasonable to publish your manuscript concerning the U-530. The three submarines that took part in that operation (U-977, U-530 and U-465) are currently at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Isn’t it better to leave them there? My old friend, think about it! Think please how then my book will look when you publish your memoirs (after WWII Heinz Scheffer wrote a book named “U-977”). We all made an oath to keep the secret; we did nothing wrong, we just obeyed the orders and fought for our loved Germany and its survival. Please think again: isn’t it better to picture everything as a fable? What results do you plan to achieve with your revelations? Think about it, please.”
Even in 40 years after the events, Heinz insisted that Bernhard mustn’t say the truth. Is it possible that the submarines delivered something more dangerous to the continent, not Hitler’s documents? Could it be the bacteriological weapon traces of which were discovered in Antarctica as unknown viruses in the permafrost last year?
One more version of the virus’s origin deserves our attention as well. Some scientists suppose that the virus came to the Earth together with some meteorite. In 1997, the automatic station “Galileo” sent pictures of Europe, one of the 16 satellites of Jupiter, to the Earth. Then scientists declared that in accordance with the evidence provided, it is likely that a huge ocean of liquid water could exist at the outskirts of the Solar system. And recently, after a closer study of the Europe’s pictures, scientists made a conclusion that the subglacial medium on Jupiter’s satellite was similar to that one existing under a 4-kilometer ice mass in the very center of Antarctica. A lake was opened in this region; it was called Vostok (East) by the name of the Russian station “Vostok” that studies Antarctica there.
A report of the US National Science Foundation says: “Antarctica’s subglacial lake has the same basic boundary conditions as the ocean under the ice on Europe.” When commenting upon the statement, oceanographer from the University of Washington John Delany said that he was sure that life existed in the ocean on Europe. Igor Zotikov, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the International commission for Antarctica researches says: “It is not ruled out that there are more lakes under the ice shell of Europe; even the subglacial sea and the lake Vostok are direct analogues of that existing on Europe. It may contain microbes unknown to scientists.”
So, it is highly likely that the virus discovered in Antarctica has come from the remote space, even probably from Jupiter’s satellite, the planet of Europe. However that may be, scientists are seriously worried about the discovery and searching for a vaccine against the virus.