Sunday, May 3, 2009
BLOGOSPHERE FROM ANTARCTICA
When I started this blog in October, 2007 to post my Antarctica experiences, I was too preoccupied with a number of things and could not get opportunity to look for other people blogging live from Antarctica. Over the time I learnt that many expeditioners to Antarctica have been blogging live from Antarctica. However, most of these blogs remain active during the summer time which most of the blogger spend there, and cease their postings afterwards. Blogging occurs during wintering period too, but not as frequently. There are some expeditioners, explorers, and scientists who have been taken so much by the issues concerning Antarctica that they have devoted their life time in doing scientific projects related to Antarctica and have spent many summer and wintering periods in Antarctica. And then, there are some who are bipolar, that is, they are active at both the poles periodically. When I was blogging from Antarctica, this blog was picked up by a Norwegian doctor who had reached Antarctica towards the end of November, 2007 for a summer and had established a blog, www.oysteininantarctica.blogspot.com. He left an entry on this blog on 18.01.2008 writing, ‘Just found your blog (linked from indian news site). Interesting stuff! We're fellow travellers - I'm the current doctor at the Norwegian Troll station. I've linked your blog now, for broader coverage of us docs on the ice planet. My site: oysteinantarctica.blogspot.com’.
I blogged live during summer time and could inspire Dr Abhijeet Bhatia who was medical officer for our 27th Indian Scientific Antarctic Expedition to start his blog and maintain it during the winter period. So while, this blog is the first from India, Abhijeet’s blog, www.imprintsonice.blogspot.com is certainly the first wintering blog from India.
Recently I looked for more bloggers from Antarctica. I am quite pleasantly surprised that blogging from Antarctica is very popular. The website www.coolantarctica.com lists various blogs that have been currently active, and some more in the archive. However, the list is not exhaustive. For more blogging sites, one may also look at some countries’ websites devoted to Antarctica, for example, UK Antarctica Heritage Trust or British Antarctic Survey. US perhaps has the largest presence in Antarctica, and there may be lot more many scientists and explorers from that country blogging from Antarctica. You can see some of the most spectacular photographs on these sites, and very useful information on climate changes and conservation strategies.
I was curious to know who started the first blog from Antarctica. The claimant is Dale Andersen who claims in the coolantarctica website, ‘I was blogging from McMurdo in 1993, and again from the Dry Valleys (Lake Hoare) in 1996. You could double check with Geoff Haines-Stiles (passport to knowledge, polar palooza) for the 1993 blog (Dale's Dive Diary) and Keith Cowing at NASAWatch for the material I posted in 1996.’
I could established email contact with Dale, and it is fascinating to know his work. Dale has been a Principal Investigator at the SETI Institute’s Center for the Study of Life in the Universe since 1992. During this time, his research has focused on microbial ecosystems in extreme environments including areas of the Arctic, Antarctic, Atacama Desert, Death Valley and Siberia. Dale has participated in field research in polar regions for more than 25 years having participated and led 11 expeditions to the Antarctic (each lasting 4.5-6 months on the continent) and over twenty expeditions to the Arctic. Dale helped pioneer scientific research diving in the perennially ice-covered lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and the Bunger Hills and has made more than 600 dives beneath polar ice, north and south. Dale was the first to use remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technology in the Antarctic to help explore lake and marine environments and as a PI at the SETI Institute he helped develop and utilize telepresence technology to extend the capabilities of the underwater ROV’s.
Dale’s website, http://daleandersen.seti.org, is very fascinating, and is worth many visits. Do watch an hour long movie “Antarctica and Mars”