2013-2014 marks the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by the great scientist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. But much of what we remember from this time is the triumph of the Norwegian Roald Amundsen over the British-led efforts of Robert Falcon Scott to reach the South Geographic Pole.
During this incredible time at the very height of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, the public were kept enthralled as the limits of our planet were pushed all the way south and the door to Antarctica flung wide open. Using a mixture of books, articles, lecture tours and films, Mawson and the Antarctic explorers of the time fed a public hungry to learn more of this unique land.
To mark this special centenary, we intend to lead a privately-funded voyage of discovery to the Antarctic during the Austral summer of 2013-2014. Taking a team of 30 women and men south, the new Australasian Antarctic Expedition will set out for two remote parts of Antarctica – Heard Island and Enderby Land – both of which have seen relatively little exploration over the past hundred years and for which we have few scientific measurements.
The region is difficult to reach and remains a ‘blank’ on the scientific map. The new AAE will explore Heard Island and Enderby Land over a nine week period to find out just what’s there. Wherever possible, we will repeat the measurements made by Mawson and his team, allowing a direct comparison to the work achieved one hundred years ago.
We are currently in the process of seeking official recognition from various bodies and institutions within Australia and internationally to help raise the profile of the expedition. During our time in the field, AAE members will use the full range of media available, including Twitter,blogs and placing movie footage on the web to take the public to Antarctica virtually. We will also hold an international school competition to develop the best experiment on ice, all with the aim of exciting aspiring scientists to become the next generation of researchers.
The expedition has been costed at US$3.5 million, and includes the charter of an ice-strengthened ship. The expedition is looking for one or more cornerstone investors to help cover 15-25% of the costs and join us in the south. Investors will obtain exclusive advertising rights and the trip will provide unique corporate training.
AAE 2013-2014 will truly be in the ‘Spirit of Mawson’.