Two Incredible News Stories That Are Poles Apart
The Polar Regions have the power to always surprise us, and so they often throw up many interesting news stories. From people that are setting out on amazing endurance adventures to scientists going above and beyond to help us further understand these extreme landscapes, there’s always something happening.
Here are two remarkable stories that have recently been in the news.
The Ultimate Test Of Adaptation
Humans are designed to adapt to suit their surroundings. After all, we are all products of millions of years of evolution, which has weeded out the things we don’t need and equipped us with everything necessary to survive. Some of us may be able to adapt better than others, but how far would you be willing to go to test the extent to which you can do this?
The chances are there are few of us that would go to the lengths that Alex Bellini is planning to do when winter comes around. The psychology student is fascinated by the way people react to the challenges life throws at them, in particular, the unpredictable situations, and is planning to spend a year living on an iceberg to find out.
After consulting with a company that makes revolutionary escape capsules that will mainly be used in parts of the world that are susceptible to extreme weather, Bellini will pick an iceberg off the coast of Greenland and live on it until it melts. The spherical capsule is designed to be virtually indestructible and so this should protect him should the fragile ice structure flip in the water. Over the course of the year, he will be doing everything possible to keep his brain and body active to avoid going slightly insane. The interior of the pod will be custom-designed by Pietro Santoro and will include space for him to work-out, sleep, cook, and record each day of his adventure.
As well as being a good road test for the Survival Capsule, Alex hopes the endurance test will help him learn a lot about himself. He will also get to see the effect that global warming is having on our planet, first-hand.
Antarctic Discovery Could Help Us Learn More About Mars
Scientists working in Antarctica have discovered the possibility of an entire ecosystem living underneath the driest desert in the world. Although there is no sand, the Antarctic continent is considered to be a desert. It is so dry that as little as 2 inches of rain or snowfall there every year (less than that which falls in the Sahara), and this means that very few organisms make this their home.
However, evidence has been gathered which indicates that underneath the McMurdo Dry Valleys, the coldest and driest part of Antarctica, more life could exist. A series of saltwater lakes has been unearthed beneath the barren landscape that we see on the surface. Although the temperature down there is likely to be below freezing, it is thought that these hidden systems may be home to microbial life. This could help scientists understand what is feeding the current ecosystems that exist around the coasts of the icy continent and also give some indication of how the climate has changed over the years.
The discovery was made using a hoop of electromagnetic sensors which can detect how resistant a surface is to electricity. Suspended from a helicopter, they were used to map these new-found lakes and experts believe the same technique could be used on Mars. And, as NASA’s Curiosity rover recently found signs of liquid water below the surface of the Red Planet, the discovery in Antarctica could help them understand how and where this could exist.
If you would like to see these extreme environments for yourself, Fred.\ can take you there. We have a whole host of polar cruises available from Alaska to Antarctica and everywhere in-between.