The Antarctic Quest 21 team is now safely back in Argentina after a very challenging month on Antarctica. The eight strong team started off from Portal Point in December 2021, venturing into the untrodden regions of the Antarctic Peninsula to undertake essential science and exploration!

Team Ethos is proud to have funded such an intrepid group of explorers on their extraordinary 300km challenge. We are also delighted that our newest gold sponsor, Microsoft, helped to support this scientific endeavour which reflects Microsoft’s passion for sustainability and education.  The core purpose of this expedition was to contribute to the scientific understanding of Antarctica’s solid Earth, ice, ocean and atmosphere, and what recent and future environmental changes mean to every one of us.

Lt Cdr Paul Hart RNR – Expedition Leader stated: ‘Having spent five weeks on the white continent, this amazing and unique environment has worked its way into our hearts and souls. Despite all the battles with the weather and the terrain, it’s simply true that Antarctica is bewitching and gains a hold on you. It’s for this very reason we came down here, to do work that will help us protect and preserve this wonderful environment and, hopefully, the wider world.  We are now on our way back to civilisation but our minds remain also rooted in Antarctica. We thank all of you who have followed us for your support, help and assistance.’

Maj Gen Lamont Kirkland, CEO Team Ethos/Team Army said: ‘Understanding climate change matters to us all. So we are very proud to have supported an adventure with real purpose. This intrepid group of explorers travelled into the untrodden regions of Antarctic to undertake essential scientific research and exploration to help understand what recent and future changes to the environment mean for us all. Their expedition to the Forbidden Plateau in Antarctica should not only inspire but also inform and educate all ages about science and exploration.’

Operating in this region is no easy task, with considerable climatic and environmental challenges. The only mechanism of movement across the unforgiving terrain is by manually hauling all that is needed for the team’s survival, as well as all the scientific equipment. ‘Man-haul’ is very much in the spirit of Shackleton’s heroic and historic achievements and the expedition team held a moving commemoration service in his honour on 5th January 2022. This took place on the East Coast of the Peninsula, overlooking the Weddell Sea, and the site of Shackelton’s legendary Endurance Expedition.

In the 201st Anniversary year of the discovery of Antarctica, the team faced extreme weather conditions crossing the Forbidden Plateau from Portal Point to Foyn Point to put in place and start scientific equipment that will transmit data used in climate research in real time. The team then travelled down the spine of the Peninsula to continue their data gathering for scientific research on climate change, meteorology, geology and glaciology. Of special importance is the team’s collection of samples to research microplastics, metal and nutrient content of the snow on the Peninsula, revealing just how we are affecting the most remote areas on the planet.

BBC News coverage

Cooking in the Antarctic

Scouting ahead

Sampling metals

Science and Exploration

The expedition team supported international scientific projects through daily observations, installation of equipment, sampling of snow and undertaking measurements. The team of Antarctic Quest 21 will:

  • Gather snow samples from remote locations to evaluate long-range atmospheric transport of microplastic contamination
  • Measure UVB radiation dose on the ground to establish the effect of ozone depletion on harmful radiation reaching the surface of Earth
  • Emplace and set to work a GPS system to measure movement of the Antarctic Peninsula
    Measure snow deposition rates to contribute to models that predict sea-level rise as a result of climate change
  • Undertake meteorological observations to identify changing weather patterns and ground-truth remote sensing measurements
  • Gather snow samples to determine atmospheric deposition of metals that act as micro-nutrients to the food web in the Southern Ocean

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Education and Outreach Programme

The team wanted to inform, educate, and inspire the general public on the subject of Antarctica. To these ends, a comprehensive educational outreach programme was developed, working with schools, universities and the general public to broaden knowledge and understanding about Antarctica. The Antarctic Quest 21 online outreach programme aimed to:

  • Deliver long term educational benefits to young people.
  • Develop an understanding of climate change and sustainability in young people
  • Develop an understanding of history and the ‘Heroic Age’ of Antarctic expeditions including the efforts of Shackleton and other British explorers.
  • Help young people develop by offering them a glimpse into the skills required for Antarctic exploration
  • Help young people develop through an understanding of leadership and team dynamics.

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Visit their website to get a real feel for what they have achieved … and all from the ends of the earth.