Saturday, January 7, 2012

Guess where the purest air is on the planet? You can’t live there yet. It is the South Pole. However, scientists are there to help prepare humans to habitat other planets. Yeah, lets screw up another planet instead of fix this one.
In fact 100 years ago is when 2 explorers discovered the most remote and most difficult place to live on earth. It is the south pole found near the center of Antarctica. It was an Norwegian expedition that found the place in December of 1911 that was closely followed by a British group of explorers that followed a month later.
The south pole is the area that is the ultimate in southern exposure. Usually about 15 below zero. The Antarctic summer runs from November through February. During that time the sun is shinning 24 hours a day. So who cares? Well someone cares! Enough people do from The National Science Foundation.
Their funding has brought loads of journalists , scientists and supplies to the region. They have erected the Amundsen-Scott Research Station. The work there represents America’s presence in Antarctica. More than 200 people enjoy the creature comforts that we all enjoy in warmer regions. Usually, no one is expected to survive at the end of the earth.
They have a fitness center, gourmet meals and activities to keep their moral high. Their freezer is simply boxed crates of food left outside to keep cold. Inside there is a greenhouse where all their fresh greens are grown. Peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes, basil and thyme are among the fresh spices and foods grown and served there.
This polar station is there to represent a space station because the South Pole is the closest to being out of this world without leaving the planet. Although the landscape appears to be flat, the area actually sits on ice packed almost 2 miles high. The climate is dryer than the Sahara desert. And the purest air on earth is there.
Honey, we lost the house to foreclosure anyway, lets move there, it sounds like a healthy place to be. Sure as long as the Air Force keeps delivering toilet paper in their giant cargo planes that have skis for landing gear. The high altitude and the clean air and the fact that the winter sports months of 24 hour darkness, it is an astronomer’s paradise.
While some astronomers are there spending hours looking into the stars and beyond, other scientists are burrowing sensors more than a mile deeply into the ice searching for evidence of neutrinos. They are some of the smallest particles known to science. Detecting neutrinos appear to be next to impossible but they may be the key to proving or disproving Einstein’s theory of Relativity.
The group of scientists there are the only ones trying to find answers in our generation. About 850 miles away in the McMurdo valley, another group of scientists are investigating the area that is not all ice but rocks and sand. They are looking for clues as to what it must be like on other planets.
A cold day in Antarctica is actually an average day on Mars. Yes, the planet Mars. These scientists even have goals of finding alien life. Ok! I’m done with this story. They say it is the coldest highest driest place where predators prey on primary producers of living things , herbivores, and algae. So the region is actually a laboratory where the scientists can really understand the fundamentals of how eco-systems work.
Antarctica is a place where you go to study the most extreme and thanks to the foundation something good might come out of this research for our humanity. After all, all the best places to live on this earth is totally disrespected and are being destroyed so, lets see if we can survive somehow in the most barren extremes of the universe, the South Pole and Mars. Jeez!

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