Continent 7: Antarctica
Continent 7: Antarctica
Six different teams of scientists, each studying different areas and aspects of Antarctica arrive on the continent after years in the planning and millions of dollars of expense. The continent is home to the coldest, windiest, driest conditions on the planet, and without Scott Base, the hub of Antarctica New Zealand's missions these teams couldn't survive. One team has come to study the inner workings of Mount Erebus, the southernmost active volcano on the planet. Another is traversing onto the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating piece of ice the size of France. Two thousand miles away, the Antarctic Peninsula Team is looking to tag whales and track their...
Coldest recorded temperature: -135.8?F (-93.2?C). Strongest sustained wind: 199 mph (320 kmph). Littered with hidden pitfalls and pounded by brutal conditions, Antarctica is desolate and dangerous, but it also holds many secrets about rising seas, volcanic activity and microbial life that will determine our planet's future. For the bold scientists at New Zealand's Scott Base, the promise of discovery far outweighs the danger of death.
Not Fit For Human Life+
Scientists deployed to Antarctica are accustomed to frigid temperatures, but few have experienced the condition one storm that is sweeping over Scott Base and the Ross Ice Shelf. A condition one storm is categorized by visibility less than 100 feet, wind speed over 60 miles per hour or air temperature less than negative 100 degrees. The consequences can be deadly. Scott Base shuts down all missions and flights to and from western Antarctica have been canceled; leaving them more isolated from the outside world than ever. The scientists already 60 miles away from the safety of base on the Ross Ice Shelf have no choice but to stay in their tents...
In these icy oceans, falling overboard is a death sentence. Even so, humpback whales, killer whales, seals and a world of sea life roam the waters off Antarctica's shores. To understand and conserve these fragile ecosystems, scientists must brave the perils and study them. And if the science is to survive, then the US Coast Guard ice cutter Polar Star has to chop a channel through thick ice for a supply ship to traverse before time runs out.
The Mount Erebus team not only have trouble landing at one of their sites, once they do, their computer equipment begins to malfunction in the cold. Meanwhile, as the USS Coast Guard Polar Star begins to smash out a channel in the ice to escort supply tankers to the continent, the main engines experience a major malfunction and leave them dead in the water. 68 kilometers from Scott Base, in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, a team has come to map out the only part of the continent not covered in ice. But with significant wind, they struggle to protect their $80,000 drone from a crash landing. The Ross Ice Shelf Team is finally able to dig themselves...
Take Your Best Shot+
Life on Antarctica has to endure the harshest climate on earth in order to survive and thrive as a species. Much of Antarctic life congregates in the ocean where more nutrients and prey are available. Scientists therefore have focused their research in these icy waters in an effort to determine how both climate change and direct human interference has affected the marine ecosystem. Whales biopsies determine how diet has been changing over time and the dire need to reverse climate change effects before its too late. Life here for humans on the other hand, can be put in danger when the machinery and transportation they rely on in this isolated part...
Science of Survival+
In two weeks, science in Antarctica will shut down for the winter. Scott Base has a heavy load of logistics to manage to send teams out to finish their missions for the season and prepare for the arrival of an entire year's worth of supplies coming into port. Captain Walker and of the USS Coast Guard Icebreaker Polar Star are once again challenged by their aging ship as they try to finish the last stages of cutting a channel in the ice before they escort the Ocean Giant in. Meanwhile, Graham Hill and the Mount Erebus team struggle to salvage as much data as they can from the volcano before they go home. Barbara Bollard Breen and her team carefully...
Race To Escape+
As winter approaches, field teams are finishing up their science for the season. It's the last chance to obtain information for their research on the frozen continent. As most people are preparing to leave, a container ship is on its way in to supply the continent with food and materials needed for the skeleton crew that remains during the cold dark winter months.