Dispatch from Middle Antarctica: Science 100 years on, in Memory of Sir Captain Robert Falcon Scott

Dispatch from Middle Antarctica: Science 100 years on, in Memory of Sir Captain Robert Falcon Scott

antarticaDuring the Antarctic winter, Alexander and his crew members will endure 4 months of darkness, where temperatures will drop to the coldest anywhere on the planet- below minus 80 degrees Celcius. 100 years on, and in Memory of Sir Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Alexander Kumar and his team give us a glimpse of life here one century ago.

Alexander is the station medical doctor but more importantly is the Research MD – there to conduct human spaceflight research for the European Space Agency. Alexander describes, “Each day we push human psychology and physiology to its limits – all to see how far we can push the human mind and body towards a future manned mission to Mars. After all, its the closest you can come to living on another planet. Its science that brought me here. Science and the history of exploration.”
 
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Alexander took with him Sigma lenses and has so far shot some fantastic photographs and footage which he will share with Sigma.
One of his favourite memories has been to step inside one of Scott’s Huts on the Antarctic coast. He has sent some photos of this experience stating, “it is incredibly humbling to have visited one of the famous huts used by Scott and his men. You take one small step inside and immediately you are swept back 100 years. It is further enlightening to think nearly exactly 100 years ago to the day, Scott and his men would have been living and breathing here.
 
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Sadly on March 29th 1912 – Scott suffered his last defeat and passed away beside his best friend and fellow expedition member Dr Wilson. Their tent was not discovered until a search party had arrived later in the year in November. Fortunately Scott’s story survived – by means of his diary, moving footage and photographs. The surviving members of his ill-fated expedition shared their memories also.
 
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Alexander writes, “100 years on, Imagining Scott sitting at his desk at his Cape Evans hut, I sit writing at a modern desk in a modern lab. What a legacy to have been left by Scott and his men. I’m certain they would be proud to have seen how humans now live, in relative comfort, in Antarctica. They were here 50 years before man stepped on the moon. What a difference 100 years can make. Here we are, back here, thinking about Mars.”
 
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“Having waved goodbye to the last plane that left at the beginning of February, we are here, isolated, alone. I can only imagine what thoughts passed through Scott’s mind in his dying days.”
 
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“The reason I am here is for science. I admire Dr Wilson like no other- from surviving debilitating Tuberculosis among other maladies, joining Scott to the pole, he had hauled over 15kg of science until his last breath. Such an inspiration.”
 
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Sigma is the first to learn that for the first time in winter at Concordia, people will sleep outside on the Antarctic Plateau in a tent. Alexander will be joined by 2 of his colleagues to spend a night on the eve of 29th March, in temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celcius, outside in a tent, in memory and celebration of Scott’s Centenary.
 
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“I leave you with images of Scott’s hut. Hopefully they will inspire you too.”
 
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You can follow Dr Alexander Kumar’s research and experiences at www.AlexanderKumar.com