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Antarctic

The SeaBED AUV mapping a previously-inaccessible area under the Antarctic sea ice (Photo: ...

Antarctic scientists have combined measurements provided by an underwater robot with existing satellite data to show that Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought. Their first-of-a-kind high-resolution 3D maps cover over 500,000 square meters in the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica, and they reveal heavy deformation in all three near-coastal regions that produces mean sea-ice draft (thickness of the submerged part of the ice) far in excess of ice drilling and ship-based measurements. This is a big leap forward in our ability to understand why and how the ice is changing on both small and large scales.  Read More

Oceanographers run through a series of tests in preparation to deploy one of the ocean gli...

The use of "ocean gliders" for conducting research in oceanic conditions not ideal for regular methods has been catching on in the scientific community. Examples of this have been seen in the detection of endangered whales in the North Atlantic and a study of the Atlantic sturgeon. Researchers have now turned their robotic ocean helpers towards Antarctica, to study the rapidly-melting ice sheets on the coast of the western part of that polar land mass.  Read More

Flying For Freedom plans to send up to five microlights to the South Pole

If you think going outside to collect the mail isn't on because it’s a bit nippy, then you might want to give a thought to a squadron of disabled British servicemembers who plan to spend next January flying to the South Pole in little more than hang gliders. Organized by the charity Flying For Freedom, up to five open-cockpit microlights will be piloted by the veterans to show what severely disabled people can achieve, as well as inspire others to seek rehabilitation.  Read More

An artists impression of the ESA's CryoSat satellite (Image: ESA)

An analysis of data from the European Space Agency's (ESA) CryoSat satellite shows that ice loss in the Antarctic is increasing at an exponential rate. It is estimated that the polar region now loses 159 billion tonnes of ice each year, with the worst instances of degradation located in the Western area of the Amundsen Sea.  Read More

Early design concept of the new polar research ship

What’s big and red and costs £200 million? The answer is the new flagship of Britain’s polar research fleet complete with helideck and robot submarines. On Friday at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced that the British government had authorized the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to go ahead with the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art vessel for polar research and to maintain the British presence in Antarctica and the South Atlantic.  Read More

The BICEP2 facility at the South Pole has discovered compelling evidence for quantized gra...

In a discovery that has profound implications for our understanding about the beginnings of the universe, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics this morning announced evidence of so-called primordial B-modes in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). These B-modes directly show quantum gravitational waves originating during the inflationary period of cosmic evolution, from about 10-36 sec to 10-32 sec after the Big Bang, and give us a direct view of physical processes taking place at 1016 GeV – a trillion times more energetic than particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider.  Read More

The Concordia Research Station's inhospitable setting makes it useful for studying the eff...

The Concordia Research Station, a joint interest between the French IPEV polar institute and the Italian PNRA Antarctic program, is by all accounts one of the most isolated and inhospitable locations available to humanity, requiring more time to reach than it takes to travel to the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency (ESA) takes advantage of the facility's unique location and conditions, conducting extensive research into the implications of long-term space flight on the human body. Read on as we take a look at the conditions at the station, and the importance of the research being carried out there.  Read More

Maria Leijerstam with her White ICE Cycle

Shortly before Christmas, we heard about 35 year-old British adventurer Maria Leijerstam's planned attempt to ride to the South Pole on a recumbent fat-tired tricycle. On December 27th at 1am GMT, she achieved that goal, becoming the first person to ever successfully cycle from the edge of the Antarctic continent to the Pole.  Read More

Maria Leijerstam is in the midst of attempting a trip to the South Pole on a custom-built ...

Last winter, polar explorer Eric Larsen attempted to become the first person to cycle to the South Pole. Continually stymied by deep, unrideable snow, Larsen fell behind schedule and was forced to abandon the attempt. This year, several others are taking up the challenge. Thirty-five year-old British adventurer Maria Leijerstam is hoping the ticket to success is a fat-tired recumbent trike built to task.  Read More

The Bharathi Antarctic research station (Photo: bof artchitekten)

India's National Center For Antarctic And Ocean Research has commissioned a brand new research station, which has been installed in the Larsmann Hills section of northeast Antarctica. The 2,500 sq m (27,000 sq ft) Bharathi Indian Polar Station was constructed using shipping containers, and allows scientists to conduct their work in safety, despite the punishing local weather conditions.  Read More

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