Putin receives first Lake Vostok water sample

Russia’s prime minister Vladimir Putin received the first glass of water from Lake Vostok on Friday, the underground lake in Antarctica believed to have been there for the last 20 million years, NewsCore reported.

A team of Russian scientists drilled down to Lake Vostok on Sunday, just before the freezing Antarctic winter was about to set in.

More from GlobalPost: Russian scientist reach Antarctica's 'alien' Lake Vostok

Putin was presented with a vial of the water on Friday from Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yury Trutnev, who was there when scientists reached the lake.

"Well, did you drink the water?" Putin asked Trutnev, Reuters reported. Trutnev said he didn’t take even a sip of the water.

"Well it would have been interesting you know: dinosaurs drank it and Trutnev, a member of the Russian government, too," Putin said, Reuters reported.

While Trutnev laughed at the thought, he told Putin he didn’t want to be a dinosaur.

Putin has hailed the discovery of the lake a “great event” and said the research team will receive national awards, the Associated Press reported. It took Russian researchers more than two decades of drilling to reach the lake, which was at a depth of 12,366 feet about 800 miles east of the South Pole.

Lake Vostok is expected to hold living organisms that have been hidden in the darkness for millions of years, along with clues to life elsewhere in the solar system. Scientists believe the conditions of the dark, freezing lake are similar to those believed to be found under the ice crust on Mars, Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, the AP reported.

More from GlobalPost: Humpback whales inspire better helicopter design


Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.