"The detection of gravitational waves in the afterglow of the Big Bang — if confirmed — opens a new chapter in astronomy, cosmology and physics. The signature, seen by the BICEP2 radio telescope at the South Pole, packs at least three discoveries into one: It provides the most direct evidence for the existence of the waves predicted by Einstein; it is the proof of ‘cosmic inflation’ that physicists had been eagerly awaiting; and it opens a window into the unification of the fundamental forces of nature and into quantum gravity." NYT article
, in depth Nature News feature
. [more inside]
"This is video
of an aurora australis taken at the geographic south pole! I'm not absolutely sure, but it might actually be the first true video of an aurora australis here, as opposed to a timelapse of longer exposures. Sorry about the swearing - if you were there seeing it you'd probably swear too."
You're about to be the base doctor at Halley Research Station in Antarctica for a year. For ten months, no one gets in or out. Fourteen lives are in your hands, including your own. What do you put in your medical kit?
And how do your choices differ from those of your predecessors
(Eric Marshall and Edward Wilson) a century ago?
In a twist worthy of a bestseller or blockbuster
, the remains of the shipwrecked
Terra Nova have been identified just off the coast
of Greenland, just in time
to celebrate the 100th anniversary
of Scott's ill-fated attempt
to become the first man to reach the south pole.
On 6 June 1911 Robert Falcon Scott, who was born in Plymouth, celebrated his 43rd birthday at the south pole expedition base camp at Cape Evans. On 29 March 1912 he and his companions finally starved and froze to death in their tent, 11 miles from a supply cache, on the march back from discovering that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them to the pole.
"This is day 86 on my full return South Pole Expedition 2011/2012. I'm quite hungry and about to pick up my last cache by my second pulk which I left on the way in. As a part of my motivational plan I have on purpose not made notes on what goodies I have left behind in the cache, and on this last one, I didn't expect very much
." --Aleksander Gamme [more inside]
During his unsuccessful 1908 attempt to reach the South Pole, universal badass Ernest Shackleton
left five crates of Scotch whisky
and two crates of brandy buried in the ice under the floorboards of his hut at Cape Royds
. The crates were dug up in February
, and conservators are working
on ten of the 114-year-old whisky bottles, some marked with ‘British Antarctic Expedition 1907 Ship Endurance,’ with an eye on replicating the long-lost blend. [more inside]
How we lost the cure for scurvy.
"Now, I had been taught in school that scurvy had been conquered in 1747...but here was a Royal Navy surgeon in 1911 apparently ignorant of what caused the disease, or how to cure it. Somehow a highly-trained group of scientists at the start of the 20th century knew less about scurvy than the average sea captain in Napoleonic times."
Early in the days of exploration of Antarctica
, Australian geologist Douglas Mawson
turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition
in 1910 (Cool Antarctica previously
). Instead, Mawson lead his own expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition
(December 1911 to December 1913), an expedition to chart the 2000-mile coastline directly south of Australia, one of the least-visited parts of the continent throughout the early years of Antarctic exploration. The group's efforts and activities are well documented
, and many remnants of the expedition remain on Antarctica. The conservation of Mawson's Huts
is now an ongoing effort from Association of Australasian Palaeontologists
(AAP) Mawson's Huts Foundation
. While most efforts were focused on the recovery and treatment of artifacts inside the main hut, the group also searched for the Vickers
that was modified to become an "air tractor", or motorized sledge. The remains of the plane were last seen in 1975. Now the plane has been found
, thanks to an exceptionally low tide and a bit of luck. [more inside]
The Polar Discovery
team has documented science in action from pole to pole during the historic 2007-2009 International Polar Year, and covered five scientific expeditions
. The science projects explored a range of topics from climate change and glaciers, to Earth’s geology, biology, ocean chemistry, circulation, and technology at the icy ends of the earth. Through photo essays
and other multimedia
, they explain how scientists collected data and what they discovered about the rapidly changing polar regions. From the awesome folks at WHOI
Landsat Image Mosaic Of Antarctica
UK and US researchers peice together the most detailed map of Antarctica yet
, searching through years of data to find cloud free images.
Ever wonder how time zones work at the North and South Poles?
(No, not this
North Pole, the real one
Santa found living on the South Pole....of Mars!?! Mysterious tracks that look like 250-mile long ski or sled trails have been found near the South Pole of Mars.
Researchers at the University of Colorado have found the broad, sweeping lines cutting through a section of the southern ice caps of the frigid planet, but haven't a clue what caused them. via the excellent laputan logic
This week marks the 90th anniversary of the death of Robert Falcon Scott
and four companions on their return trip from the South Pole. Most of the blame for the failure of the polar expedition has been placed on critical blunders
Scott made in his trek to the pole but Antarctic meterologist Susan Sontag says that although Scott cut his safety margins too close, unusually cold weather
provided the killing blow. On a related subject, next month A&E premires a movie starring Kenneth Branagh as Shackleton
(flash site) who saved his crew
after their ship shattered in Antartic pack ice.