"If they find evidence of life there - and I do think Lake Vostok has life in it - it's going to be Earth-like," astrobiologist Dale Andersen, with the SETI Institute's Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, told Discovery News.
"It's going to be the same kind of life you find everywhere else. It may be that life has evolved differently, but it's still Earth-like, still based on the same DNA structure," Andersen said.
"The real value is that it helps us learn how to explore these kinds of environments better. It opens up your imagination for how to explore these kinds of environments, whether it's on Earth or Europa," he said.
Scientists suspect Lake Vostok's water is about 1 million years old and is supersaturated with oxygen and other gases, a difficult place for life to exist. Some life that might be there are bacteria and single-celled microorganisms called archea.
It would be surprising if Lake Vostok had no life, NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay told Discovery News.
"The ice above the lake is known to contain low levels of viable but dormant organisms frozen into the ice. As this ice melts into Lake Vostok, it will carry these microorganisms so Lake Vostok is not likely to be sterile," he said.