Think you've done the ultimate road trip? Think again. That tour de force can only be rightfully claimed by a team of scientists who spent this winter driving 2,000 miles across East Antarctica -- at a top speed of about 9 miles per hour.
In late December, twelve American and Norwegian scientists set out to complete the second segment of a two-season overland traverse of East Antarctica. This year's expedition began with the team traveling in two groups, with one heading first to 'Camp Winter' to repair the vehicles that were damaged during Season 1 and then driving to the South Pole, and the second group testing equipment at McMurdo Station before meeting up with group one at the South Pole. The entire team then headed to Troll Station, a Norwegian research station located about 150 miles from the East Antarctic coast, stopping at various points along the way to fly unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) missions and drill for ice core samples.
A legendary sports-car builder engineers a featherweight, ethanol-powered supercar on skis to lead an expedition across Antarctica
By Michael DumiakPosted 02.04.2009 at 9:05 am 12 Comments
When you're driving a 4.7-ton truck filled with scientific equipment across a crevasse-strewn Antarctic wasteland, choosing the right path is critical. Deep cracks in the ice, invisible from a distance, can swallow a truck whole. An Antarctic expedition needs an ultra-light scout vehicle to run ahead and find a safe route before the heavy machinery rolls through. That's exactly what the Concept Ice Vehicle (CIV) is built to do.
East Antarctica is home to the Earth’s oldest ice and harbors some of the most important information about past and future climate change, yet it is the least explored part of the Antarctic continent. The Norwegian-U.S. Scientific Traverse of Antarctica involves two overland traverses of East Antarctica: one in 2007-2008, and a return traverse via a different route in 2008-2009. The project will revisit sites that were first explored in the 1960s to look for signs of change since then and to set benchmarks for future research in the area.