A small team of explorers are attempting a journey of 3,200 kilometers across Antarctica in temperatures as low as -90 degrees Celsius.
Lead by 68-year-old Briton Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the group will be taking on the coldest place on the planet.
Their challenge is considerable, considering the fact that they will start their journey during winter and plan to travel mostly in the dark. The team will be supported by hi-tech vehicles designed especially for extreme environments.
The expedition is scheduled to set off when the southern winter begins. Today, the team set out from London on the South African research ship SA Agulhas, bound for Antarctica. On 21 March 2013, they will begin the six month journey on foot to reach the Ross Sea.
Their route includes passing from the Russian base of Novolazareskaya to Captain Scott’s base at McMurdo Sound – via the South Pole.
By attempting the impossible, Sir Ranulph Fiennes is hoping to raise $10 million for Seeing is Believing with Standard Chartered’s dollar for dollar matching.
Links:The Coldest Journey Seeing is Believing
7th century: Ui-te-Rangiora, a Maori navigator from the island of Rarotonga, is believed to have sailed south and encountered iceflows and icebergs in the Antarctic.
1522: Ferdinand Magellan, first circumnavigator of the globe, discovers the Straits of Magellan.
1675: Anthony de la Roche discovers South Georgia, the first time land had been found south of the Antarctic Convergence.
1772 to 1775: Captain James Cook sails HMS Resolution across the Antarctic Circle in January 1773. In January 1774 he reaches the southernmost point of his voyage, coming within 75 miles of the Antarctic mainland without actually seeing it.
1819: William Smith discovers the South Shetland Islands, the first land discovered south of the 60° south latitude.
1830 to1833: the Southern Ocean Expedition led by John Biscoe, an English sailor, circumnavigates Antarctica, sets foot on Anvers Island, names Graham Land, discovers Biscoe Islands, Queen Adelaide Island and sights Enderby Land.
1872 to1876: HMS Challenger, under captain George S. Nares, becomes the first steamship to cross the Antarctic Circle.
1904: Base Orcadas, an Argentine scientific station was established in Antarctica. Located on Laurie Island, it is the oldest of all stations in Antarctica still in operation and the first to be inhabited.
December 14, 1911: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reaches the South Pole.
January 17, 1912: English explorer Robert Falcon Scott reaches the South Pole, only to find that he and his five-member party had been beaten to it by a rival Norwegian expedition, led by Roald Amundsen. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold.
1939 to1941: the United States Antarctic Service Expedition, led by Richard Evelyn Byrd, takes place.
1955 to1957: the first Soviet Antarctic Expedition, led by Mikhail Somov, takes place.
1957: the Amundsen – Scott Base, a research facility located in the South Pole was established.
December 1, 1959: the Antarctic Treaty is signed. It came into force on June 23, 1961. Among other provisions, this treaty limits military activity in the Antarctic to the support of scientific research.
January 7, 1978: a baby named Emilio Marcos de Palma is born near Hope Bay, becoming the first baby born in Antarctica. The baby was also born farther south than anyone in history.
1996: Lake Vostok was discovered.