September 2021 – Volume Twenty-Seven, Number Nine
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.
Dr. Benjamin Pothier with teammates reflected in his face shield.

Team Simulates Moon Mission in Iceland Lava Tubes
Dr. Benjamin Pothier, 48, based in Paris, reports to EN the success of the CHILL-ICE mission for which he acted as a back-up analog astronaut and mission documentarian this past summer.
CHILL-ICE (Construction of a Habitat Inside a Lunar-Analogue Lava-tube) was organized by the EuroMoonMars team ( in an underground lava tube usually inaccessible to the main public. 
Three teams of three analog astronauts each spent 72 hours one after another inside the lava tube, deploying and living inside an inflatable emergency habitat to simulate protection against the possibility of micro-meteorite or cosmic ray exposure on the Moon. It’s thought that lunar lava tubes could provide a natural shelter against such risks.
The experimental lunar ZEBRO rover.
The CHILL-ICE teams also tested Lunar ZEBRO (, an unorthodox lunar rover prototype, reportedly the smallest and lightest ever developed.
Pothier followed the analog astronauts to document their preparation and trainings and was allowed to spend one night in the habitat. CHILL-ICE was the result of the collaboration of researchers from 16 different countries; the habitat was conceived by a Canadian team from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Learn more about Pothier’s work:
Watch a video of the Lunar ZEBRO here:
Ascend is a Kabul-based NGO that helps Afghan young women climb to their potential, all the while sending a greater message to the country:
women deserve rights, respect, and power. 
Don’t Forget the Women Climbers of Afghanistan
Ascend Afghanistan, a U.S. nonprofit operating in Kabul, teaches leadership skills to girls through the sport of climbing. This month, Outside Business Journal, the B2B trade magazine for the outdoor industry, was relayed a letter from a 17-year-old member of the organization asking the world for help as the Taliban tightens its grip on the country.

?The group teaches leadership skills to girls ages 15-24 through mountain sports. Not wanting to reveal her identity for safety reasons, the author calls herself “Brave Girl.” She writes in part, “My dreams are lost with the arrival of the Taliban. I am still 17 years old, it is too early to die in my heart.”
Brave Girl continues, “I feel sorry for the loss of our lives because of the foreign forces that came to oust us, and we call on the international global community, the United States, and humanitarian organizations to help me and not to leave us alone in danger and threat, because we are.”
She concludes, “Do not forget the people of Afghanistan. Do not forget about the brave girls who climb mountains.”
Ascend has set up a fundraiser that has already raised $384,000 out of its $500,000 goal. Donate here:
Read the original letter:
Of these four ocean floor scans, the top two panels clearly show shipwrecks, but the shipwrecks in the bottom two panels, marked by red arrows, could easily be mistaken for natural features. Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Reach the World Asks Students to Help Search for the Endurance
Reach the World, in partnership with the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust,
is inviting all K-12 classrooms in the U.S. to join the Endurance22 Expedition, the search for Shackleton's lost ship, Endurance. It’s considered the most famous undiscovered shipwreck in the world.
Educators and students will join a world-class team of explorers, underwater archeologists, marine scientists, marine robotics specialists and sailors as they journey into the Weddell Sea to write the final chapter of this epic story. Through weekly written articles, short videos, and live video calls with expedition participants, students will learn all about archeology, exploration, Antarctic wildlife, marine robotics, careers in STEM and more.
This virtual exchange expedition is set to begin in September 2021 and will last throughout the 2021-22 academic year. 
For more details and watch the video here:
Matthew Henson shortly after returning from the North Pole.
Lunar Crater Named for Matthew Henson
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Henson for a lunar crater near the South Pole.
It’s named after Matthew Alexander Henson (1866-1955), an African-American explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic over a period of nearly 23 years. They spent a total of 18 years on expeditions together. He is best known for his participation in the 1908-1909 expedition that claimed to have reached the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909. Henson said he was the first of their party to reach the pole.
Henson’s polar mittens are a treasured part of The Explorers Club Research Collections.
Planetary nomenclature, like terrestrial nomenclature, is used to uniquely identify a feature on the surface of a planet or satellite so that the feature can be easily located, described, and discussed.
The Henson crater will forever be entered into Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, and posted on its web site:

Rain Uncovers Rare Iron Age Coins
One advantage of climate change, one of the few, if any, benefits to speak of, is how long-lost artifacts are being uncovered. A rainstorm in London this summer has led to the discovery of a hoard of more than 300 coins dating to the first century B.C.
Archaeologists were nearing the end of excavation in Hillingdon, along the route of the HS2 railway project, when rain changed the ground conditions, BBC News reports.
“We found a patch of soil that was a very different color from what it would be expected to be,” says Emma Tetlow, historic environment lead for the Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture, which is leading the HS2 digs, in a statement. “The patch of soil was dark greeny-blue which suggests oxidized metal, and when we checked more closely, we could see loosely packed metal discs.”
The Iron Age coins – known as potins due to the copper, tin and lead alloy used to make them – each measure about 1.2 inches in diameter. They show stylized images representing the Greek god Apollo on one side and a charging bull on the other.
Read the statement here:
Battery-hybrid powered MS Fridtjof Nansen will explore Antarctica,
Greenland and the Arctic. (Photo: Andrea Klaussner)
Expedition Ship Named for Nansen
Famed explorers of yesteryear are getting their due.
In 1896, Hurtigruten Expeditions, based in the U.S. in Seattle, founded expedition cruising. One hundred twenty-five years later, what has grown to become the world’s largest expedition cruise line is naming its new battery-hybrid powered MS Fridtjof Nansen ship in the birthplace of expedition cruising – on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard which will now become its port of registry.
Battery hybrid-powered MS Fridtjof Nansen is the latest addition to Hurtigruten Expeditions' fleet of smaller, more sustainable ships. The company will host a naming ceremony in Longyearbyen on Svalbard this month. At press time, the plan was to break a chunk of ice over the bow rather than the traditional bottle of Champagne
In the late 1800s, exploration of remote corners of the world was largely done by scientific expeditions, or was a luxury reserved for the few. As yachts and ocean liners made their way north, Hurtigruten Group founder Richard With saw a niche for combining local knowledge with smaller passenger ships. In 1896, what today is Hurtigruten Expeditions started a series of small-ship cruises from mainland Norway to Svalbard. Aimed at international guests, the cruises included small-boat landings in places like North Cape and the remote Bear Island.
Norwegian-born Nansen (1861-1930) led the first expedition to ski across Greenland in 1888 and ventured farther north than anyone else in the history of exploration during his Fram expedition in 1893-1896. Nansen later devoted his life to international humanitarian work and diplomacy, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for refugees following World War 1 and related conflicts.

Nansen is also known for something else. In a display of an endearing quirky Norwegian sense of humor, our hosts during a 2013 visit to the Fram Museum in Oslo couldn't wait to tell us about Nansen's habit of mailing naked photos of himself at the age of 67 to his Norwegian-American girlfriend. (What?)
"Sure, just Google it," we were told. Sure enough. Yikes!
For more information:

“The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ and my answer must at once be, ‘It is no use.’ There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise, nothing will come of it.
“We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go.
“What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”
– George Leigh Mallory, (1886 – 1924). Response to question from journalist in 1922.

(Source: “Why Bother Leaving the House?” Ted Salon, London, Fall 2012, by explorer Ben Saunders:
Scene from Disney’s Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.
How to Achieve That Explorer Style 
Buckle up for the rollicking Jungle Cruise film, the new live-action adventure based on the Disneyland and Disney World rides. It stars Emily Blunt as the intrepid Dr. Lily Houghton, who hires charismatic riverboat captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) to set sail in search of the Tree of Life.
Parade magazine (July 18) recently shared with its 32 million readers how to correctly outfit yourself like an explorer. The shopping list includes vintage lanterns, silk bandanas, an Indiana Jones-style hat, and a striped linen shirt. Amazingly, no bullwhip.
Want to dress like The Rock? Read on:
MS Estonia was a cruise ferry built in 1980 at the German shipyard Meyer Werft in Papenburg. In 1993, she was sold to Nordström & Thulin for use on Estline's Tallinn to Stockholm route. The ship's sinking on September 28, 1994, in the Baltic Sea between Sweden, Finland and Estonia, was one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century. (Photo simulation courtesy
Private Expedition Seeks Answers to M/S Estonia Disaster
A privately-funded expedition, commissioned by relatives of the victims of the M/S Estonia ferry that sank into the Baltic Sea nearly 27 years ago, will dive into the vessel’s wreckage this month. It’s the latest attempt to gain more insight into one of Europe’s worst peacetime maritime disasters, accord to the Associated Press (Sept. 9).
The goal of the dive, organized by an Estonia-based fund, “is to find answers to questions” that official joint and separate investigations by Estonia, Finland and Sweden have failed to provide on the vessel’s fate, the organization said Wednesday.
“Although during these decades numerous different investigations have been carried out, they have not been able to give the survivors and close relatives of the deceased exhaustive answers regarding the reason why Estonia perished,” the Mare Liberum fund, created in July, said in a statement.
The 515-ft. M/S Estonia ferry, which was traveling from the Estonian capital Tallinn to Stockholm in Sweden, sank in heavy seas killing 852 people, most of them Swedes and Estonians. Of the total 989 people on board, only 137 survived.
The 1997 official joint investigation by Estonia, Finland and Sweden concluded that the ferry sank as its bow door locks failed in a storm. That separated the bow door from the vessel, causing extensive flooding of the decks that eventually sank the vessel in just 20 minutes.
Read the story here:
Double amputee Chinese climber Xia Boyu summited Everest in 2018 at the age of 69. His lower legs were amputated after suffering frostbite in a failed Everest expedition when he was just 25. 
Himalayan Times: “Don’t Neglect Disabled Travelers”
It could take some years before tourist arrivals in Nepal reach pre-pandemic numbers, although people have been traveling in droves in Europe and America by throwing caution to the wind, according to an editorial in The Himalayan Times (Aug. 27).
“Even if COVID-19 were to come under control anytime soon, tourists might be wary about traveling to this part of the world. So instead of lamenting about the misery that has befallen this country, Nepal's tourism entrepreneurs would do well to use this slack period to explore ways to put the country's tourism back on its feet sooner than later,” according to the opinion piece. 
“And this means looking for new tourism schemes or at a different kind of visitor who has eluded our attention until now. Why not, for instance, tap accessible tourism to target persons with disabilities for a change? There are a billion people living with disabilities around the world, which make them a valuable untapped market.”
The editorial explains hotels in Nepal have not invested in the required infrastructure to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities.
“Accessible tourism is also inclusive tourism, where everyone regardless of physical limitations, disabilities or age can be a part of the tourism experience.”
Read it here:
The famed game show host (left) once traveled to the Galapagos with
Lindblad Expeditions a few years ago to provide pre-recorded answers.

The Trebek Initiative Named for Game Show Host
“A seabird with blue feet.”
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the National Geographic Society have reinvigorated their long-standing collaborative efforts to create a program that provides grants to early-career explorers in support of their expeditionary work. It supports emerging Canadian explorers, scientists, photographers, geographers and educators.
The types of projects championed are: exploration of unique ecozones in Canada, scientific research on Canadian wildlife, wilderness or water, a photography exposition on unique Canadian geographies, or new tools to create a better understanding of our environment.
It’s named for Alex Trebek, the late, beloved host of Jeopardy! and generous philanthropist who had a passion for geographic literacy and supported both The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (where he served as Honorary President until his passing) and the National Geographic Society. 
Learn more:
Thanks Johnny! 

In the Days Before Photography, Explorers Relied Upon Artists
The early 20th century work of photographer Herbert George Ponting (1870-1935) created some of the most iconic photos of polar exploration. But in the age before photography, recording the images of explorations often fell to artists, according to a new online exhibition of drawings and watercolors from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
By the mid-nineteenth century, the camera began to be seen as an important addition to expedition equipment – a new and important method of observation – however, reliability proved an issue as timing exposures and developing glass plate negatives was often difficult in unfamiliar terrain or climate conditions. Sketching with pencil, pen and watercolor often remained the best option, both for its immediacy and the limited kit required to achieve results.
Created by men and women who were largely amateur artists and for whom their skills were learned in other arenas as scientists, engineers, surgeons, architects and map makers, the sketches and drawings in the virtual RGS exhibit also demonstrate the evolution of the role of illustration in scientific reports and published accounts of travels. 
The artwork depicts people and landscapes – penguins, pottery shards, the Amazon River at night, Easter Island Moais – at a time decades before the camera became available for use by those undertaking scientific research and exploration in the field. Two examples in this fascinating gallery follow below.

See the RGS online exhibition here:
The Golden Gate in the Durbar – Dr. H. A. Oldfield (1822-1871), 1850 – Oldfield's watercolors are amongst the first seen in the West, most often illustrating secular subjects. It provided important reference points for the architecture of the Kathmandu valley at that time. Oldfield’s work was so accurate that it has helped to guide some recent restoration projects in Nepal.
Sketches of the Hut on Elephant Island – Reginald William James (1891-1964)
Pen and ink drawings on lantern slides (made c. 1916, later transferred and reproduced on glass, c. 1919). James was the physicist selected by Sir Ernest Shackleton as part of the scientific party on board his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-16), better known today as the Endurance expedition. Following the destruction of the ship Endurance in the Weddell Sea, James was one of a group of 22 men who remained on Elephant Island from April to August 1916. His drawings show the men’s harsh conditions.
"The peculiar conditions handicapped scientific work considerably, nevertheless some valuable results were obtained. Two hundred miles of new coastline were mapped; a chain of soundings was extended across the Weddell Sea; and much interesting work done on the natural history of sea-ice," according to a paper read by James and first illustrated by his slides to the Manchester Literary & Philosophical Society, January 6, 1920.
Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– Covid-19 has practically put the brakes on travel, but once we get through the pandemic, travel will come roaring back and so will voluntourism. Be ready to lend a hand wherever you go. How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at: @purpose_book
Get Sponsored! – Need money for your next project? Read about proven techniques that will help you find both cash and in-kind sponsors. If the trip is bigger than you, and is designed to help others, well, that’s half the game right there. Read Jeff Blumenfeld’s "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers." (Skyhorse Publishing).
Buy it here:

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