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.
March 2019 - Volume Twenty-Five, Number Three
Celebrating Our 25th Year!
The adventurous Ulyana
Ulyana Horodyskyj is One of World's Most Adventurous Women
"For me, science and adventure go hand-in-hand," says Ulyana Horodyskyj, who we profiled in our June 2018 issue. She has been named one of the world's most adventurous women for 2019 in Men's Journal (January 2019). Jayme Moye and Mary Anne Potts write that she is among the women who are redefining the limits of what's humanly possible.
To study climate change, the 32-year-old has traveled to the icefields of Mount Everest, the fjords of Baffin Island, and the glaciers atop Kilimanjaro. That's because it's those places where the effects of a changing planet are often most easily observed.
In 2016, she founded Science in the Wild to bring adventurous citizens along to help collect data and see science in action. Her latest research, studying the impact of soot from North American wildfires, took her to Norway's desolate Svalbard archipelago in 2018, with a documentary film coming this year about climate change and industrial pollution.
In September 2016, she was chosen as mission commander for the NASA Johnson Space Center's HERA (human exploration research analog) 30-day isolation experiment, simulating a long-duration mission to an asteroid. She was one of 120 semifinalists out of 18,354 applicants for NASA's 2017 astronaut class.
Earlier this month, we're happy to report she married musician and expedition guide Ricardo Pena who has studied the 1972 plane crash site in the Andes made famous by Piers Paul Read's 1974 book, Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors. Officiant at their Denver ceremony was Eduardo Strauch, one of the survivors of that tragedy.
Read the Men's Journal profile here:
Alison Hargreaves and son Tom Ballard in 1995. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/The Guardian
Body Found of British Climber Tom Ballard, Son of Alison Hargreaves
In September 1995 we wrote about the Aug. 13, 1995, deaths on K2 of British climber Alison Hargreaves, Rob Slater of Boulder, Colo., Bruce Grant of New Zealand, Jeff Lakes of Calgary, Alberta, and Spaniards Javier Escartin, Lorenzo Ortiz Monson and Javier Olivar. Hargreaves, then 33, was the first woman to climb Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, according to ExplorersWeb.com.
Now comes word of the tragic death of Hargreaves' son, British climber Tom Ballard, 30, and his Italian climbing partner, Daniele Nardi, 42, who late last month disappeared on the Himalayan peak Nanga Parbat - at 26,660 ft./8126 m the ninth highest summit in the world.
Ballard and Nardi were trying to climb a new route on Mummery Spur when they disappeared. Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador to Pakistan, said Spanish climber Alex Txikon found the bodies on the Mummery Spur trail. Pontecorvo added the bodies were in a place that was difficult to reach but everything possible would be done to try and recover them.
Climbers Jack Geldard and Nick Brown documented Ballard's alpine solos for website ukclimbing.com. They wrote in 2015:
"There's no denying that part of Tom's motivations come directly from his mother's legacy. He's chosen the same mountains, the same path, and he too wants to be a professional climber."
Read more here:
(left) The artifact found in 1991. (right) Photograph taken from the film.
Patching Together Clues to Amelia Earhart's Disappearance
From time to time we like to check in with the The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), the Oxford, Pa., group searching for answers to the mysterious disappearance of aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, on July 2, 1937 (See EN, April 2018).
In 1991, TIGHAR found an aluminum panel on Nikumaroro in the Republic of Kiribati, that they suspected is the patch installed on Earhart's Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft in Miami prior to her departure on her second and fatal world flight attempt. The artifact has been the subject of intense debate ever since. The key to a conclusive yea or nay is a comparison between the unique rivet pattern and deformation on the artifact and the unique rivet pattern and deformation visible in photos of the patch on the Electra. The problem has always been the poor resolution in the handful of historic photos that show the patch.
In 2008, the group was contacted by a woman who said she had photos and movie film of Earhart, Noonan and the Electra in Lae, New Guinea. A TIGHAR researcher visited her and made low-resolution scans of still photos taken on July 1, 1937 showing the aircraft being fueled for the flight to Howland Island the next day.
One of the photos showed the right rear side of the Electra from a closer distance than any photo yet seen, according to the TIGHAR.org website. A TIGHAR researcher also watched a VHS dub of scenes from a reel of 16 mm movie film showing the Electra taking off for the short test flight on the morning of July 1, 1937 and the subsequent fueling operation.
The next step is to get the brittle, nearly 82-year-old, acetate film scanned at high resolution, a delicate and expensive operation that must be done on special equipment prior to further forensic analysis. The film is currently in Boulder, Colorado, and will shortly be submitted to a specialized film lab.
For more information about the search for Earhart, see:
(left) An adult male 'regular' killer whale - note the size of the white eye patch, less rounded head and dorsal fin shape. (right) An adult male Type D killer whale - note the tiny eye patch, more rounded head, and more narrow, pointed dorsal fin. Illustrations by Uko Gorter, courtesy of NOAA.
Antarctic Tour Vessels Help Solve Killer Whale Mystery
Photographs taken aboard International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) vessels since the 1990s, some by voluntourists, have supported research which, this year, has brought scientists face-to-face with a mysterious and potentially new species of killer whale.
An international research team led by Dr. Bob Pitman, a researcher from NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Centre in California, has been compiling and cataloguing killer whale images as part of a project to monitor their distribution, movements and abundance.
The "Type D" killer whale is characterized by a more rounded head, sharply pointed dorsal fin and much smaller eye patch than those of killer whales elsewhere in Antarctic waters; and has been at the centre of a mystery spanning decades. Was it a different species of whale, or simply a genetic abnormality of a single, family pod?
In January, during a three-week research voyage near Cape Horn off Southern Chile aboard the 79-ft. IAATO research vessel S/Y Australis, Pitman finally came face to face with the elusive animals that he has spent 14 years searching for. The Australis encountered a group of approximately 30 whales which approached the vessel several times allowing the international team of scientists to capture vocalizations, underwater images and, most importantly, three biopsy samples - tiny bits of skin collected harmlessly using a dart.
Unraveling the secrets of these enigmatic animals now moves from the Southern Ocean to the laboratory, where NOAA scientists will analyze DNA from the skin samples.
"These samples hold the key to determining whether the Type D represents a distinct species of killer whale," Pitman said.
Although three other types of Antarctic killer whale have been well documented, good sightings of the elusive Type D are rare. From their data Pitman and his team surmise that the Type D killer whale is distributed around the entire continent of Antarctica, but avoids the coldest waters; leading them to suggest a common name: "Sub-Antarctic killer whale."
Given that these waters are in some of the most inhospitable latitudes on the planet, it is no wonder it is almost unknown to science. However, scientists and voluntourists aboard IAATO vessels have been recording whale sightings in the Southern Ocean since the organization's inception in 1991, especially after digital cameras became more accessible in the late 1990s.
Amanda Lynnes, Head of Communications and Environment for IAATO, said: "This is really exciting news. IAATO members have been supporting whale research for decades in Antarctica, a region where data on these large mammals are still surprisingly scarce and much needed to ensure their continued protection.
"Visitors can often get involved too; in this case their holiday snapshots really contribute to scientists' understanding of whales."
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"Exploration is the engine that drives innovation. Innovation drives economic growth. So let's all go exploring."
- Edith Widder, American oceanographer, marine biologist, and the co-founder, CEO and Senior Scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (1951-)
Ocean Space Habitat is a portable inflatable dwelling which establishes a dry space within the undersea environment.
Just Don't Try to Make S'mores
A pair of veteran divers have created an underwater tent that can serve as base camp for extended expeditions into the depths of the sea, according to Kraig Becker writing on DigitalTrends.com (Jan. 27).
Designed and patented by National Geographic explorer Michael Lombardi and New York University professor Winslow Burleson, the Ocean Space Habitat (OSH) was conceived and built to overcome the biggest challenges that divers face. The inflatable underwater "tent" allows divers to create a safe, comfortable place to stay while submerged hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean. The OSH can be brought to a suitable depth, inflated to its proper size, and anchored in place, allowing undersea explorers to come and go as needed.
According to the Ocean Space Habitat's technical specs, the underwater shelter is made from a unique blend of vinyl and nylon with polyester support strappings and stainless steel hardware. The entire shelter weighs as little as 50 pounds, although it can scale up to as much as 200 pounds depending on the configuration.
Onboard carbon dioxide scrubbers can provide a breathable atmosphere for up to six hours with rechargeable batteries powering internal air-circulating fans. Those batteries are also used to run two built-in oxygen monitor displays, which are connected to dual galvanic oxygen sensors, according to Becker.
Essentially, the OSH is designed to serve as a portable underwater campsite that allows divers to stay down longer and remain safer. Inside the tent, undersea explorers can take off their scuba masks, replace tanks, eat a meal, or just have a short rest.
Read the entire post and watch Lombardi's video here:
How Do You Preserve History On The Moon, Including Astronaut Poop?
Historic preservationists are hoping that the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this summer will persuade the United Nations to do something to protect Neil Armstrong's footprints in the lunar dust, according to the NPR Morning Edition story by Nell Greenfieldboyce (Feb. 21).
Historic preservationists want the U.N. to take action to preserve significant artifacts and objects on the moon, such as Apollo 11 astronauts' footprints in the lunar soil.
Some of his boot marks are still up there, after all, along with other precious artifacts from humanity's first steps on another world. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left behind tools and science equipment, a plaque that read, "We came in peace for all mankind," and the U.S. flag, which has likely been bleached white by five decades of harsh ultraviolet light.
Other than a dusting of lunar soil or the random micrometeorite impact, Tranquility Base has been an untouched time capsule since the astronauts departed - though that could change as more nations and even commercial companies start to explore the moon, says Boyce.
"There has never been historic preservation off our planet. It's a really difficult subject," says Michelle Hanlon, a law professor and space law expert at the University of Mississippi who co-founded For All Moonkind, a nonprofit group devoted to protecting historic sites in space.
Recently she brought the issue to the United Nations, in what she thinks is the first time the subject has been raised there. Speaking to a subcommittee of the U.N.'s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Hanlon told the group that the Apollo 11 landing site is a cultural treasure similar to UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Egypt's pyramids or China's Great Wall, according to NPR.
Hanlon wants the U.N. space panel to issue some kind of declaration stating that the Apollo 11 landing site has unparalleled cultural importance that deserves special recognition.
In 1969, the Apollo 12 astronauts landed 160 meters away from the Surveyor III spacecraft that had been on the moon for a couple of years. The astronauts walked over and removed some pieces of the craft to bring them home for analysis to see how the lunar environment affected equipment. It was sandblasted from the landing of the Apollo lunar module.
One of the most scientifically interesting items from the Apollo landing sites are the bags of human excrement.
"I think the most important thing on the moon would be the bags of human poop because they are incredibly valuable for science," says Philip Metzger, a planetary scientist now at the University of Central Florida.
"These are samples of human biological material including microbial life that we placed on the moon decades ago. We would love to find out, did anything survive?"
Listen to the story here:
This image released by Neon/CNN Films shows a scene from the film Apollo 11.
Apollo 11 Film Contains Newly Discovered Footage
Fresh off its Sundance 2019 premiere having received a favorable response from critics and audiences alike, Apollo 11 is making the rounds of U.S. theaters, including never before seen 70 MM footage of the mission.
From director, Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13), the film is crafted from a newly discovered trove of wide format footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, the audience vividly experiences those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. Visuals you may have seen a hundred times get a fresh look in the new film.
Miller includes a three-and-a-half-minute single take of the view from the lunar module from orbit to landing, and another of the docking with the command module after the moonwalk. It received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Paintings Uncovered of 1953 Everest Expedition
The moment Sir Edmund Hillary set off on his 1953 quest to conquer Everest is captured in never-before-seen paintings by a team member, paintings that are now up for auction, according to the UK Daily Mail (Feb. 14).
Edmund Hillary, featured here surrounded by Sherpas and local children before heading off for Everest base camp.
The four artworks were painted by AC Thornton who was a member of the historic expedition. The four paintings were recently discovered during a house clearance 66 hears later in a property in the West Country (southwestern England). Auctioneers are planning to sell the four paintings as one lot with an guide price of between £800 and £1,200. ($1,057 to $1,585).
The previously unknown pictures show Hillary setting out for Everest base camp in March 1953 surrounded by Sherpa guides and local children. They are rare for that period because by 1953 photography was well advanced. The sale tales place in April.
Read the story and see all four paintings here:
"Holding with One Hand and Flailing With the Other? That's Not a Thing."
Alex Honnold is having his moment. We saw him on stage at the Oscars picking up hardware for Free Solo; the award-winning film recently aired on the National Geographic Channel; and now he's a YouTube star on the GQ Channel. He breaks down rock climbing clips from both real life and film, including Mission Impossible II, Point Break, Star Trek V, Failure to Launch, Dark Knight Rises, Vertical Limit, and Sly climbing ice barehanded in Cliffhanger. Hilarious. Watching his commentary on the depiction of climbing in the cinema is a hoot.
At press time, 3.1 million people saw his critique on YouTube. You can too:
Climbing holds are full of fecal matter, according to new video parody.
"Gyms are the Armpit of the Climbing Universe"
Alex Honnold recently endorsed Expensive Membership, a comical ode to his own documentary, Free Solo. The parody features amateur climber and video editor Nick Garnham Wright as he strives to accomplish his V8 gym project. It's a feat that will forever rival Honnold's own ropeless climb of El Capitan.
See it here and watch out for fecal matter on those holds:
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
He's Bill Spindler
We regret that some editions of EN incorrectly spelled the last name of one of our contributors to the O'Brady/Rudd Antarctica story that appeared in our February issue. He's Bill Spindler, not Splinder. A field construction engineer and inspector based in Boulder, Spindler run three Antarctic websites: southpolestation.com, palmerstation.com, and mcmurdostation.com. He examines the recent Antarctic crossing controversy here: https://www.southpolestation.com/trivia/10s/crossings.html
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 at 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.
Pre-orders available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at:
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.
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2
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