If a cruise to Antarctica is on your bucket list, there's a lot to think about when it comes to voyaging to the planet's southern-most continent.
here's still a lot of things we don't know about Antarctica. The last discovered and least explored continent of Antarctica holds many mysteries, but the things early explorers and modern-day scientists have discovered are quite amazing.
From alien-finding bacteria to animals tapping into the Earth's magnetic field, here are 10 of the top scientific discoveries in Antarctica.
Earlier this year scientists discovered five new fossil forests on the planet's southern-most continent. The discovery nearly doubled the amount of fossil forests scientists had believed to exist on what is now the world's largest desert. Fossils were of hardy plants that lived sometime around 300 to 200 million years ago.
A 2017 study from the International Journal of Science revealed the desert soils of Antarctica harbor rich microbial life that can live with very little sun, no geothermal energy, and limited nutrients. The study says that "although more extensive sampling is required to verify whether this process is widespread in terrestrial Antarctica and other oligotrophic habitats, our results provide new understanding of the minimal nutritional requirements for life and open the possibility that atmospheric gases support life on other planets."
Scientists using satellite technology to monitor the continent spotted a hole the size of Maine in 2017, the largest found on Antarctica since the 1970s. Known as a polynya, the hole was about 30,000 square miles.
In 2014, the National Science Foundation announced that scientists discovered Weddell seals may have a sixth sense! "Weddell seals have biological adaptations that allow them to dive deep--as much as of hundreds of meters--while hunting, but also an uncanny ability to find the breathing holes they need on the surface of the ice..by using the Earth's magnetic field as a natural GPS."
Using a Krypton-dating technology, scientists confirmed the age of an Antarctic ice sample. The result: 120,000 year-old ice. The discovery of the ice's age allows scientists to explore Earth's climate much farther back into history and potentially lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms that cause the planet to shift into and out of ice ages.
The Arctic and Antarctica might seem quite similar at first glance: Mountainous, snow-covered landscapes and icebergs, whales, and nesting seabirds by the tens of thousands. But they are polar opposites – literally – and in many other ways you might not expect.
When summer arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, there's only one place Jan Bryde wants to be: In the middle of the Arctic Ocean, high atop the world at the North Pole.
Polar adventurers aboard Poseidon Expedition’s 114-passenger vessel Sea Spirit will now benefit from advanced technology when the ship is equipped with new retractable fin stabilizers next year.
The 4,200-GRT vessel will be retrofitted with
|Photo Credit: Judy Wells|
You never know what’s going to happen on a polar expedition cruise. Things can change-day by-day due to weather, sea ice, or other unexpected challenges. However, if you have a good expedition team and staff, you’ll rarely be disappointed.