Weddell Sea Expedition underway

Associate Professor Wolfgang Rack (expedition remote sensing coordinator) and drone pilot Paul Bealing (Gateway Antarctica / Geography) were farewelled by a large crowd of Antarcticans, students, staff, and stakeholders who congregated at the Biological Science Building, Atrium earlier this week.

The two are departing to undertake in the Weddell Sea Expedition, a privately funded expedition to the most remote marine area of the world to conduct cutting edge science and marine archaeology.

One of the expedition highlights is to locate the ship wreck Endurance of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition, which is expected to be in 3000m depth after it sank in 1915.

A large team of UC and Christchurch based people are involved in this undertaking:

  • Greg Hatley (summer scholarship student), Usama Farooq and Shanelle Dyer (postgraduate students) will support the ship from Christchurch with high resolution satellite images.
  • Campbell McDiarmid (MSc student of the Wireless Research Centre) developed a sea ice experiment using a drone.
  • Adrian Tan from Lincoln Agritech provided a radar antenna for drone measurements.
  • Neil Gilbert (Constantia Consulting, Gateway Antarctica adjunct fellow) is the designated point of contact ashore, and provided the assessment for the environmental impact and the expedition’s risk management.

The UC contingency, which is responsible for sea ice measurements and remote sensing on the ship, will leave Cape Town on 30 December and is expected back on 19 February.

For more on UC’s involvement in the Weddell Sea Expedition, click here>

Photo: the UC expedition gear is loaded on the South African icebreaker Agulhas II (November 2018)