Stories tagged south pole

May
29
2010

I see the American Museum of Natural History in NY is going to have an exhibit on the Scott and Amundsen 'race' to the South Pole. (See NYTimes Art section: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/arts/design/29race.html?ref=arts ). I look forward to seeing that exhibit.

Being a weather guy.... Dr. Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the NOAA and an IPCC author, has a book (The Coldest March: Scott`s Fatal Antarctic Expedition) that indicates that an unusually cold Antarctic autumn contributed to the death of Captain Robert F. Scott and his four comrades on their 1500-kilometer (900-mile) trek back from the South Pole in March 1912. Temperatures were 10° to 20° colder than expected during the race to the South Pole. The cold weather cut in half the distance the explorers could travel in a day. A blizzard trapped them in a tent, where they froze to death 18 kilometers (11 miles) from a supply depot.

Another fact I find interesting, is that the Scott expedition revealed that Antarctica once basked in warmth. Among the 16 kilograms (35 pounds) of rocks the expedition collected were fossils of Glossopteris, a seed fern. This fossil is scientific evidence that the current ice-covered continent was once fertile.

Oct
18
2006

Dry moon: Radar images taken from the moon's south pole have decreased the odds that ice, and therefore water, can be found on the moon's surface. Photo from NASA
Dry moon: Radar images taken from the moon's south pole have decreased the odds that ice, and therefore water, can be found on the moon's surface. Photo from NASA

New pictures from the moon are drying up any ideas that its poles might have traces of ice that could hold water for future manned trips there.

The high-resolution images, shared in the recent edition of the journal Nature, dispute the theory of cold traps on the poles, particularly the moon’s south pole, where water particles were thought to possibly be found as ice. Radar shots from Earth can now look into these cold traps, which are permanently shaded craters on the moon’s south pole.

Such ice deposits have been found on the planet mercury using the same radar measurement techniques. But the latest images showed no traces of ice on the portions of the moon that radar imaging was done on.

Researchers point out that it doesn’t mean there is no ice on the moon’s south pole, just on the areas that were tested. But the bad news, to anyone thinking of making a manned mission to the moon, is that there probably wouldn’t be enough iced water on the pole to help support a long mission.

Six years ago, the Lunar Prospector orbiter found concentrations of hydrogen around the lunar poles. If that hydrogen could be combined with oxygen in some fashion, estimates were that there could be up to a 1 or 2 percent mixture of ice in the soil on the moon’s poles.

So if you’re planning on going to the moon anytime soon, still plan on bringing enough water for everyone in your party.