Explorers Justin Packshaw and Jamie Facer Childs are working with NASA, Stanford University and the European Space Agency (ESA) travelling 4,200 kilometres from coast to coast of Antarctica, right through the frozen heart of the continent. Over the 80 day expedition, they will receive no assistance, travelling by foot and kite, relying solely on physical and mental strength.
Much like the extreme conditions found on planets in our Solar System, Antarctica has an austere environment that is useful for a range of human and biological research, ranging from isolation, microbial investigations, immunology, and much more. Justin and Jamie’s mission will allow scientists to observe a rare scientific story of human adaptability, which will ultimately contribute to the ongoing mapping of genomic, physiological, psychological, and environmental data models of human centred space exploration.
What are the limits of the human body? An age-old question that personalized medicine can ask in new ways. Studying individuals who push themselves beyond physical and mental limits will help:
Researchers around the planet will use cutting edge technology and personalized health profiling to monitor training, expedition, and recovery with unprecedented scientific detail. This pilot will test personalized health in the most extreme context.
Antarctica acts as the world’s largest reflector of the sun. The eyes of the world are currently on the West Antarctic ice sheet, if it melts then we’ll add at least another metre to sea-level in our lifetimes. Justin and Jamie are working with ESA to monitor the following:
• Radiation levels
• Wind speed / direction at surface level • Temperature gradients from surface level • Ice states/condition as they cross the continent
After some harsh weather conditions at the beginning of last week, Justin and Jamie have
now completed 391km of their mission across Antartica, and today they will be coming to the end of day 18. They are working on UTC time.
“Good day, we covered 68 kilometres in 22kph of wind, sadly we had some problems with one of our kites which cost us an hour and then at 3pm the wind lost its puff, so we were on track for a lot of miles. Anyway, it is great to be moving in the right direction with Jamie and I dancing our kites alongside each other – synchronised swimming eat your heart out. The other bizarre thing that happened is that 4 birds flew over us, we think they must have been Snow Petrels, but man we are now on the plateau at 3,000 meters and a long way from the coast, so what would bring them up here I wonder! Anyway, we’re in cracking form and are thrilled to be getting some better mileage in. Onwards …”
Stats at day 18:
Follow their Journey: