December 10, 2010

British Team Sets Record Time For Crossing Antarctica

A British expedition to Antarctica said that it has succeeded in establishing a new record for the fastest land crossing of the southernmost continent.

The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition said that the team completed the crossing in under 13 days, smashing all previous records.

The total distance covered was 1209 miles in 303 hours.

The team set off from the Union Glacier airstrip on November 25 and arrived on the Ross Ice Shelf earlier on Thursday.

A statement on the group's website said: "The team has crossed the continent! The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition team have just completed the fastest ever vehicle crossing of the Antarctic continent."

"The team will now retrace their tracks to the South Pole, and back to the west coast at Union Glacier. They hope to complete the return trip in around nine days; they will then be the only vehicle-based expedition ever to complete the there-and-back journey."

The 10-man team traveled in a convoy led by a propeller-driven biofuel scout vehicle.  Two large "monster" trucks followed behind carrying most of the crew and equipment.

Ice-penetrating radar was used to avoid crevasses.

The expedition planned to conduct several scientific tests en route.

These included testing the efficiency of biofuels at extreme temperatures and wireless health monitoring equipment that the crew carried.

They were also planning to collect samples of snow to test for trace metals in order to help track the passage of pollutants within the southern hemisphere.


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