Keith's note: I spoke with Dale Andersen at Lake Untersee, Antarctica today via satphone. The dive hole has been completed and is about 3 meters deep. Valeri and Vladimir are taking water samples right now so as to characterize the microbiology profile of the water column. Tomorrow Dale will take additional samples and do pH, REDOX, etc tests and measure light levels. If all goes according to plan - and the weather cooperates - Dale will make his first dive under the ice tomorrow.
Although Dale's WiFi router has stopped working we are able to communicate by Iridium phone by voice and via text messaging. Dale was even able to send a tweet out today directly from his Iridium phone - but it is a somewhat cumbersome process that uses the phone's keypad. Ideally, you need warm, nimble fingers for this operation - and that is not always possible to achieve in Antarctica.
Dale was very interested to hear if any news about the Mars Curiosity SAM instrument data had been released, noting that the environment he is currently visiting at Lake Untersee "is a lot like early Mars in many ways".