British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is preparing an assault on Antarctica. He'll attempt to be the first person to successfully march across Antarctica on foot in the middle of winter. No person has gone more than 60 miles inland in winter.
Lake Vostok is located 2.2 miles beneath Antarctica's icy surface. It's been unseen and untouched for about 20 million years. But now reports are surfacing that Russian engineers may have reached the lake after a decades-long effort to drill into it.
Those on the Spirit of Mawson Antarctic expedition were relieved and jubilant when they were rescued last week after being stranded on a ship caught in Antarctic pack ice. But some polar scientists were not as jubilant. They question the trip as more a lark than a serious expedition — which diverted several icebreakers from serious scientific work.
Scientists say a massive ice sheet in Antarctica is starting to collapse. It's not going to slide into the ocean over night, but rather over centuries. Still, it will fall, scientists say. It's gotten to the point it can't be stopped — and that means rising sea levels.
Last summer in the southern hemisphere, a fishing vessel in the Antarctic Ocean pulled up a rare creature — a 770-pound colossal squid. Only one other such animal had been pulled up intact before, surprisingly, by the same vessel. It is thought that the giant marine beast might be the origin of legends of undersea monsters. Scientists in New Zealand froze it to preserve it and just defrosted and dissected it.
Every trip to Antarctica inspires awe and concern for the fragile frozen continent. But every trip also contributes to the global warming that's eating away at the place. So is it better to visit Antarctica, or stay away?