The continent of Antarctica is known to be one of the world's most hostile environments. Thank to its ultra low temperatures and caustic winds, very few people have ever attempted to cross the continent. Any travel to and back from the region, is usually done aboard small airplanes.
Now, eleven brave men, led by experienced Polar traveler, Andrew Regan are on an expedition to prove that the 3,600 mile roundtrip can be done not only safely, but in a much more environmentally friendly manner, by using ground vehicles.
The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition departed from Patriot Hills on November 27th, with the single-passenger, futuristic looking Winston Wong bio-inspired vehicle, leading the way. Equipped with ground penetrating radar, it not only finds the way, but also, tests the thickness of the ice to ensure that it is safe for the two Science Support Vehicles that are following behind.
Besides carrying the crew and equipment, the support vehicles are also fitted with equipment that track the pollutants and monitor fuel emissions from the bio-inspired vehicle, as well as, collect samples of cosmic dust and meteorites that will be analyzed by researchers at London's Imperial College.
On December 4th, the expedition reached a milestone - The geographic South Pole, or what is technically the bottom of the World - A feat that has been completed by only a handful of people.
While they are about halfway through their historic voyage, the going so far has not been easy - Part of it has been the extremely hostile weather. Also, while the bio-fueled car has been 'skating' along really smoothly, their support vehicles are not sustaining the weather that well. Since leaving the South Pole, things have gotten even slower. Bogged down by the extra fuel and food supplies, not to mention the crew of ten, they are having a hard time trekking across the soft snow in the region.
If that wasn't enough, the transmission started to heat up to extremely high levels, forcing the crew to stop and fix the issue. With the temperatures hovering around -46 degrees Celsius and the strong winds blowing snow on their faces, it was no easy task.
But the crew seems to be determined to endure any kind of hardship and remains in high spirits, knowing that when they complete the journey in about two weeks, they will have made history and also shown other scientists that it is possible to trek the area without harming the environment. To monitor the expedition's daily progress and read about all their adventures, check out their expedition blog.
Sources: transantarcticexpedition.org, treehugger.com,