April 2021 – Volume Twenty-Seven, Number Four
Celebrating our 26th year.
EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.
The rare night-shining clouds seen in this photo are both forming more frequently and becoming brighter, trends that point to changes in the atmosphere linked to greenhouse gases. (Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory)
Thanks to commercial spaceflight opportunities such as Virgin Galactic and Space X, today’s so-called second space age is attracting artists, students and scientists. The anticipated access to high altitude and space environments is expected to continue the trajectory of scientific exploration and human creativity.

Terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric explorer Trent Tresch is one young Explorers Club member looking to use currently available platforms to assist scientists and researchers in studying the upper atmosphere at affordable costs. In 2017, then age 24, Tresch conducted studies through an Embry Riddle spaceflight program known as Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere). The project aims to study upper atmospheric phenomena such as noctilucent clouds. He is now compiling an expedition into the field to support the research.
Trent Tresch (left) as Flight Safety Officer on a spacesuit test flight 2018. He has his finger in a pulse oximeter reading normal blood oxygenation levels at altitude.
“We hope to fly a high-speed MIG29 above the majority of Earth's atmosphere to near-space altitudes – 70,000 feet above Mean Sea Level – to develop optimal camera imaging technology and methods, then obtain the optical data on noctilucent clouds that we need,” says the now 28-year-old Washington State resident.

Noctilucent clouds are the highest clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere (50 miles above sea level). These mysterious clouds were first observed in 1885, but through the years sightings have been increasing, perhaps due to climate change.
Tresch continues, “If we understand these cloud formations, we can address fundamental questions of how energy and momentum are transferred in the upper atmosphere. Images and video at these altitudes will help verify cloud locations against satellite observations and guide us in determining if and how human activity relates to cloud presence.

“This research expands to also inform us of usable flight regions for commercial space vehicles and builds our understanding of low-density atmospheres on other planets such as Mars,” Tresch tells EN.

Both satellite and ground-based observations over the past decades have indicated that the presence of these clouds has been increasing in both frequency and brightness.
"Scientists now believe that they could be a type of sensitivity indicator for what is going on in the upper atmosphere. Small changes in our atmospheric environment can lead to large changes in the properties of these clouds."
Tresch has been working with numerous organizations to obtain access to the aircraft needed to reach these near-space altitudes and has compiled a team that has begun working on correcting image distortion from the aircraft and integrating necessary flight components such as spacesuits. 

Tresch, no stranger to the exploration field, has worked on projects ranging from the polar regions to the deep sea. In 2019, he was a recipient of the Explorers Club Mamont Scholars Grant to study astronaut parafoil deployment handle locations. He continues to procure grants and resources for the near-space flights. Having already lined up aircraft, spacesuits and a world-class team, he anticipates the expedition to take place in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Sponsorship is being sought. Connect with Tresch here: 559 481 8194, trentt@missionspaceflight.com 


Eric Larsen
Get Well Soon to Polar Explorer Eric Larsen

EN sends positives healing energy to Eric Larsen, the Colorado Polar adventurer known for his expeditions to the North Pole, South Pole, and Mount Everest (see EN, January 2013). Larsen, 49, a resident of Crested Butte, Colorado, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in early January 2021 and is currently undergoing treatment. He writes on CaringBridge.com:

“I've often said, ‘the best way to be successful is to not have another choice,’ Which is exactly the situation I'm in now. …. The parallels between expeditions and fighting cancer are uncanny. On my bigger expeditions, I flip back and forth between focusing on long and short-term goals.

"When the long-term goal seems unreachable, we celebrate hourly or daily achievements. When we get bogged down in the day-to-day, we remind ourselves that we're still making progress and keep that far-off objective in our sights. I call it nearing and faring.”

With his sense of humor still intact, Larsen adds, “And in case anyone's wondering, despite my personal grooming taking quite a hit over the past few months, I have not yet surpassed my personal ‘no shower’ record of 72 consecutive days, or ‘wearing the same underwear’ record of 55 consecutive days (both during separate North Pole expeditions).”

Follow his road to recovery here:

Encouraging sign of diversity: NASA’s African-American Astronauts Fact Sheet
Artemis Program Plans to Land First POC on Moon
The Artemis program will land the first person of color on the moon, according to NASA. The new goal for the program, which seeks to land the first woman and the next man on at the lunar south pole by 2024, comes from the Biden-Harris administration.
The administration submitted President Joe Biden's priorities for 2022 discretionary spending to Congress in mid-April. It calls for an increase of more than 6% from the previous year, according to NASA.
"This $24.7 billion funding request demonstrates the Biden Administration's commitment to NASA and its partners who have worked so hard this past year under difficult circumstances and achieved unprecedented success," said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk in a statement.
While it's unknown if a person of color will be among the two first astronauts to return to the moon since the Apollo program in 1972, "these are historic moments in advancing equity for all of humankind," said Bhavya Lal, acting NASA chief of staff.
"Women and people of color represent a significant contributing portion of all facets of NASA's workforce, and the last two astronaut classes selected have included the highest percentage of women in history," Lal said. "Fifty percent of the 2013 National class was female and 45% of the 2017 class. And today, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Hispanic and multiracial astronauts are about a quarter of NASA's active astronaut corps."
Read the story here:
View NASA’s African-American Astronauts Fact Sheet (pictured), part of its STEM engagement program, here:
Jeff Bezos (holding flag) and the Apollo F-1 Engine Search and Recovery Team at the Explorers Club annual dinner (ECAD) 2014.
The Explorers Club Recognizes Bezos and Aldrin with Honorary Titles
He is the world’s richest man, owner of the Washington Post, and founder of Blue Origin. Now he has another title to add to his resume: Honorary Chairman of The Explorers Club, according to an announcement this month.

“We live in an era of dynamism and growth, and it’s up to us to pass that along to our grandchildren and their grandchildren,” said Bezos.  “The innovations, discoveries and optimism shared by the members of The Explorers Club are inspiring future generations to solve some of Earth’s greatest challenges, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

The Bezos Expeditions Apollo F-1 Engine Search and Recovery Team was awarded the Club’s Citation of Merit in 2014, for successfully locating and recovering the F-1 rocket engines that were used to propel the Saturn V rockets into orbit during NASA’s Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s – including the center Rocketdyne F-1 engine that launched the historic Apollo 11 spacecraft which carried Aldrin to the moon.

Bezos was later awarded the Club’s Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award in 2018 for his work with Blue Origin.
Buzz Aldrin as he appeared at an ECAD dinner a few years ago. (Felix Kunze photo)
New Honorary President is Dr. Buzz Aldrin, best known as the second man to walk on the moon, for which he was awarded The Explorers Club Medal alongside Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins on behalf of NASA in 1971.

Aldrin is also a former aerospace engineer and fighter pilot, selected as part of Astronaut Group 3 in 1963, and piloting Gemini 12 in 1966, on which he performed three EVAs.

“I have always loved The Explorers Club and I am thrilled and honored to accept this position,” said Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 11.

Bezos is succeeding Kathy Sullivan as Honorary Chair, and Aldrin is following Bertrand Piccard as Honorary President.

While the move will likely help the Club raise its visibility and perhaps generate more revenue for future exploration, the Bezos selection doesn’t come without some unfortunate negative comments on the Club’s Facebook account (www.facebook.com/TheExplorersClubNYC):

Andrew Wegst posts in part, “This club will wither on the vine without young, diverse, and yes, poor, members doing amazing things.”

Calling the decision “tone deaf,” River Kressler posts, “It’s like asking a Great White to be the President of the Seal & Sea Lion Council.”

Jokes Club member Bill Steele: “If I was Jeff Bezos, and I’d been honored by The Explorers Club like he’s been (medal, Honorary Chair), I’d endow the Club with one of my many billions of dollars and be thought well of.”

(Full disclosure: Expedition News editor and publisher Jeff Blumenfeld, is a member of the Club.)

“I can say with certainty that orienting one’s life around a peak like Mount Everest is a perilous proposition, not only because the mountain will likely kill you eventually, but because it may also consume your soul in the process.”
– American professional rock climber and author Mark Synnott

Source: National Geographic and North Face explorer Mark Synnott’s upcoming book, The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest (Dutton, 2021). The book is a white-knuckle account of the historic Everest expedition Synnott made with a small team in 2019 (“the year that broke Everest”). His team wasn’t on a mission to summit but to find a 100-year-old camera thought to be lost with Sandy Irvine and George Mallory, British explorers who died on Everest and who many think may have been the first to actually summit in 1924. The camera was never found.

Synnott writes about flying drones on Everest higher than any drone has ever flown; meeting gritty amateur climbers willing to risk their lives for a selfie on top of the world; and watching the conga line at the summit during one of Everest’s deadliest years.

Synnott would also write, “I suppose it’s not surprising that I found something I wasn’t expecting on the roof of the world. Everest turned out to be a window on the best of humanity. And the worst.”

That’s Will Steger holding a very cold American flag.
After Antarctica Documents Steger 1989-90 Trans-Antarctica Expedition

Readers of EN will know we’ve closely followed the career of polar explorer and environmentalist Will Steger of Ely, Minnesota. In 1989-90, Steger co-led an international crew of six explorers and scientists who accomplished the first non-mechanized crossing of Antarctica the long way – 3,741-miles in 220 days. Their mission: draw attention to a rapidly changing Antarctica and convince world leaders to renew the Antarctic Treaty, which would shield the frozen continent from industrial profiteers for the next 50 years.

Now, as Steger ventures out into the Arctic tundra – this time at age 75 and solo – he recounts that historic journey. Through verite archival footage that brings the past alive, After Antarctica is a wilderness thriller of the danger and tension Steger and his team faced at every turn.

The documentary also covers another Steger trek, into one more vast expanse, this time at the opposite end of the Earth, as his reflections in the present crystallize into a profound cinematic memoir, a meditation on mortality, and a eulogy for the ice.

Director is San Francisco-based award-winning filmmaker Tasha Van Zandt.

Today, Steger is currently living off-the-grid in a log cabin built entirely by hand. Since the expedition, Steger founded Climate Generation, a nonprofit that empowers individuals to engage in climate change solutions (www.climategen.org).

The fact that a 2021 film festival is highlighting a 30-year-old expedition at the other end of the world, is a testimony to the impact the project had on the environmental movement. Even back then, Steger was calling Antarctica the canary in the coal mine. It’s even more so today.

Watch the film online during the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, May 13-23, 2021.

For more information:

Richard Wiese Hosts New Podcast Series:
Life’s Tough: Explorers Are Tougher!

What’s next for former Explorers Club president Richard Wiese? One of his upcoming projects includes a new podcast titled Life’s Tough: Explorers Are Tougher! Produced in conjunction with Life’s Tough Media, based in Cockeysville, Maryland, it will bring to listeners the compelling stories of the planet’s most elite explorers, adventurers, and humanitarians.

“It will be a conversation with history-makers,” Wiese tells EN. The name was inspired by famed Swiss explorer and environmentalist Bertrand Piccard who once told Wiese the secret of any crisis is to come through better than you started. Says Wiese, “I think that explorers face tough things, and life is tough, but that’s what we do, we endure, we create and we adapt.”

Confirmed first season guests include Piccard; mountaineer and philanthropist Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund Hillary); planetary scientist and Mars Rover controller Nina Lanza; deep-sea explorer Victor Vescovo; space tourism entrepreneur and new Explorers Club president Richard Garriott; paleontologist Ken Lacovara; zoologist and cheetah conservationist Laurie Marker; and Amazon tribal expert David Good.

Wiese explains what we can learn from explorers as he dives beyond their Wikipedia pages to share how they approach the process of exploration, despite hiccups along the way.

Says Dustin Plantholt, Founder/CEO of Life’s Tough Media, “There is perhaps no one on Earth with more riveting, purposeful stories than modern-day explorers – those who push the frontiers of outer space, go deep into the ocean abyss, or explore the unknown.

"We are so excited to partner with Richard Wiese in creating this ground-breaking new series to bring their inspirational and captivating stories to listeners worldwide.”

The debut season is sponsored by Ripple, a blockchain company.   

Watch the sizzle reel here: https://jmp.sh/Jbv8r6t

Hear the podcast on http://www.lifestough.com, YouTube, Spotify, and Apple where it can be found here:

Build Space Exploration Back Better

“(President) Biden should craft our human space exploration to project bold U.S. global leadership by sending men and women to do more than just visit, but to establish bases on these new frontiers. In doing so, he would no doubt launch a powerful new wave of science and engineering careers to fuel the nation’s tech economy for decades to come,” writes American engineer and planetary scientist Alan Stern in an opinion piece published in The Hill (March 15). 

“In this time when science and the scientific method is often under public attack, Biden can build space exploration back better, infusing this nation’s sense of its 21st century self and its progress to a brighter future that is both science-based and larger than life.

“He can show the world an America leading a historic pathway to the planets and even to the stars with a revitalized NASA and a whole of government approach that leverages what human space exploration and the scientific method can tangibly deliver and how they can intangibly inspire,” writes Stern. 

Dr. Alan Stern, based in Niwot, Colorado, is a former NASA head of science, a former board chair of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and a member of the National Science Board.

Read the story here:

Punch Gunk Go Get It Grant Program 

Punch Gunk, a performance therapeutics company based in Los Angeles, has launched its Go Get It Grant Program. Athletes and teams in need of financial assistance for upcoming athletic endeavors can apply for amounts both large and small from the total fund of $2,500.  

Applicants can be either individuals or can be submitted on behalf of a group. They should be participating in an athletic endeavor that will occur between June 2021 and March 2022. Requests for funding should be up to $2,500 and can be for any kind of expense, including permits, entry fees, equipment, or travel. Applicants will be asked to share their personal stories of overcoming obstacles and how they are preparing for their event.

Punch Gunk is a pain-relieving lotion and recovery bath to help athletes fight pain using natural extracts with anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties.  
Application deadline: May 15, 2021.

For more information: www.punchgunk.com/go-get-it

View Historic Lantern Show of Early British Everest Attempt

Photographer John Noel joined colonel Howard-Bury and Captain Bruce on the first British attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1921 and 1922. When he returned the Royal Geographical Society made Captain Knowles photographs of the trip into a lantern slideshow with an accompanying script. Captain C.E. Parkes purchased the slides and scripts from the RGS, then presented the slides as a public lecture altering the script with his own notes.

“The climbers were suffering from frostbite, sunstroke and snow blindness all at the same time,” he would say.  

This film, posted by Victoria & Albert Museum in London, attempts to tell the story of the expedition in the way it would have been shown to audiences through the magic of lantern slides. When you think about it, this was a forerunner to the Powerpoint presentations we enjoy today.

See the slide show here:

Explore more about the museum’s photography collection here:

Screen shot of the newest volcano in the land of fire and ice.
What the World Needs Now is More Iceland

Mother Nature is making more Iceland every day since a fissure erupted on the Reykjanes peninsula on March 19. It's the first active volcano on the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark area in 800 years.

Never one to pass up an opportunity for publicity, the country has opened the eruption area daily until 9 p.m. But the Icelandic tourist needs to be wary: rescue teams are not at the eruption site from midnight until noon the next day. Therefore they are not measuring gas pollution and not on site if accidents happen.

Gas pollution is not visible and cannot be detected by scent. Gas can disperse from the smoke cloud and pollution can increase rapidly in an area. The country set up a web site to explain how to visit safely:
In case you’re wondering, Iceland now offers anyone who can provide proof of a certified vaccination to travel to Iceland without PCR testing and quarantine.
The eruption is live-streamed here. Last we looked, it was still cooking. The mountain is definitely using its outside voice. See:

Popular Science ponders disposal of dead bodies in space. (Receive a free subscription to Expedition News if you can identify the above actor.)
What Happens to Your Body When You Die in Space?

NASA isn't sure what to do with corpses in space, but they may need to figure it out soon. Of the more than 550 people sent into the cosmos, just 21 have died – and only three actually above the boundary between Earth and space – since humankind first took to strapping ourselves to rockets.

When there have been fatalities, the entire crew has been lost, leaving no one to rescue. But as we move closer to a human mission to Mars, there's a higher likelihood that individuals could be stranded or even perish ­– whether that's on the way, while living in harsh environments, or at some other point of the mission.

A corpse in space raises logistical problems. (Ya think?) Interestingly, Mount Everest provides an earthbound analogy to this issue. Take a look at what Popular Science has to say about this dilemma.

Chris and the Gramophone (Photo by Herbert G. Ponting)
View The Antarctic Photographs of Frank Hurley, Herbert Ponting and Captain Robert F. Scott

Atlas Gallery, based in London, is offering a virtual tour of historic exploration photography that is a welcome distraction to those of us who find ourselves still reluctant to venture into crowds.

The exhibition Endurance and the Great White Silence brings together the most famous and most influential photographs of Antarctica ever taken in high quality new platinum-palladium prints. It is reportedly the first time these images by three legendary Antarctic names – Scott, Ponting and Hurley – have been exhibited together.

At the beginning of the 20th century a number of expeditions were launched to conquer the South Pole. The most tragic was the Terra Nova expedition led by Captain Robert F. Scott, accompanied by the photographer Herbert Ponting. During the winter of 1911, Ponting took many photographs of Scott and the other members of the expedition in the Antarctic winter hut at Cape Evans on Ross Island.

At the start of 1911, Captain Scott set out to reach the Pole with a smaller team, famously perishing on their return journey. A set of negatives of mesmerizing images of the polar trek were found with Scott's dead body and have been grouped in a limited edition platinum book.

A few years later Captain Ernest Shackleton set out for the South accompanied by photographer Frank Hurley. When their ship, the Endurance, sank in the Weddell Sea after being trapped and crushed by sea ice, his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917 turned into one of the greatest survival stories of all time.

Documented by the Australian photographer Frank Hurley, it has gone on to inspire historians and the general public for over a century. The approximately 200 glass plate and celluloid negatives brought back by Hurley from the expedition constitute one of the greatest treasures in the history of human exploration, according to Atlas Gallery.

Take the virtual gallery tour here:

Download the expedition catalog:

Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools.

Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey.
Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at: tinyurl.com/voluntourismbook @purpose_book
Get Sponsored! – Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers."
Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.

Advertise in Expedition News – For more information: blumassoc@aol.com
EXPEDITION NEWS is published by Blumenfeld and Associates, LLC, 290 Laramie Blvd., Boulder, CO 80304 USA. Tel. 203 326 1200, editor@expeditionnews.com. Editor/publisher: Jeff Blumenfeld. Research editor: Lee Kovel. ©2021 Blumenfeld and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN: 1526-8977. Subscriptions: US$36/yr. available by e-mail only. Credit card payments accepted through www.paypal.com. Read EXPEDITION NEWS at www.expeditionnews.com. Enjoy the EN blog at www.expeditionnews.blogspot.com
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