Bulat hopes to get clean samples from the ice frozen in the hole soon, and the lower depths of the lake itself, which scientists believe may hold microbial life that has been sealed off and isolated for as much as 20 million years.
Such unusual forms of life might give indications of what life elsewhere in the universe looks like. But Lake Vostok is an interesting spot for other reasons.
Beyond the fantastic science, Russian news agency Ria Novosti recently noted a number of rumors about the lake, including talk of a secret Nazi sub base and a rumor that the bodies of Hitler and his mistress were delivered there for cloning.
The Lake Vostok project has been years in the making, with initial drilling at the massive lake -- 6,060 square miles -- starting in 1998. The scientists were quickly able to reach 11,800 feet, but had to stop due to concerns of possible contamination of the never-before-touched lake water.
The Russian scientists came up with a clever way to make sure the water would not be contaminated: They agreed to drill until a sensor warned them of free water. At that point they took out the kerosene lubricating their drill bit and adjusted the pressure so that none of the liquids would fall into the lake, but rather lake water would rise through the hole due to pressure from below.