Antarctic video gallery

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Video transcript

TEXT BOX: Getting around Antarctica has always been a challenge.

TEXT BOX: From Mawson’s era…to the modern day.

OPERATIONS MANAGER, ROB CLIFTON: I reckon early explorers would be really jealous of the way we get around. I mean now with GPS and vehicles that have got heated cabins, it’s pretty easy I think compared to what they were probably doing.

So it’s a huge area that the Australian Antarctic Territory covers. The distance between stations is equivalent to Melbourne to Brisbane, so it’s a long way.

TEXT BOX: Travel between stations is by small planes.

ROBB CLIFTON: We are operating, obviously, in quite low temperatures, well below zero. And windy conditions as well and often with blown snow, which impedes visibility, which is pretty challenging for aircraft.

TEXT BOX: In winter the sea-ice acts as a highway for expeditioners.

TEXT BOX: They use quad bikes, skidoos and Hägglunds to get out in the field.

TEXT BOX: On the plateau people travel on GPS marked routes.

TEXT BOX: In summer small boats are the transport of choice.

ROBB CLIFTON: You know, in the middle of summer you can be out travelling around by Zodiac boat and then in winter, you can be driving a Hägglunds at exactly the same spot over the frozen ocean. So it takes a bit to get your head around that as a medium.

[end transcript]

Captains announced for RSV Nuyina

Portside with Nuyina

Portside with Nuyina

Video transcript

I’m here in Galati, Romania, to watch the construction of Australia’s newest icebreaker, the research vessel Nuyina.

It’s incredibly exciting to be here and see the ship in such an advanced state of construction, with decks laid, cables pulled, rooms prepared and a team of workers on, working to completion.

This ship is a remarkable addition to our Antarctic capabilities and it will deliver for us opportunities for science research, logistics, passenger transfer and fuel capabilities that we’ve never had before.

When she is launched in Hobart in 2020 she will be the most powerful ship in the Southern Ocean and a terrific contribution to our Antarctic efforts.

[end transcript]

Operation appendix

Operation appendix

Video transcript

This is not a situation you want to be in during an Antarctic winter.

Australian Antarctic Division, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeff Ayton “The Russian doctor in 1961, Dr Rogozov, having to do his own appendicectomy under local anaesthetic and with assistance from his lay team, which was an extraordinary feat.”

While some people will do almost anything to visit Antarctica. Australian doctors must sacrifice a piece of themselves.

Australian Antarctic Division, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeff Ayton “The Australian Antarctic doctors since 1950 have had to have their appendix out. It’s a unique request and it’s always a discussion point at the interview and the medical screening.” It’s a unique request and it’s always a discussion point at the interview and the medical screening.”

The appendix removal policy came into force after a doctor on Heard Island fell ill, requiring a complex emergency evacuation.

With only a single doctor on each Australian Antarctic station over winter, they must be in good health.

Australian Antarctic Division, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeff Ayton “It’s not just the instance of appendicitis, it’s the concern about any abdominal mischief and the diagnosis of that remotely when you haven’t got a doctor on site for the doctor. Because appendicitis is a life threatening condition and you can deteriorate within hours to a ruptured appendix and peritonitis and die.” Because appendicitis is a life threatening condition and you can deteriorate within hours to a ruptured appendix and peritonitis and die.”

Despite the unusual job requirement, doctors are still lining up to go south.

[end transcript]

Southern Ocean soundscape

Southern Ocean soundscape

Video transcript

Jacques Cousteau called the underwater world ‘the silent world’ and he couldn’t have been more wrong about that.

There’s a tremendous amount of information that we can learn about the Southern Ocean simply by listening to it.

[Killer whale clicks]

I study underwater sound and particularly the sounds of whales and other marine mammals in the Antarctic.

Blue and fin whales in particular are endangered species. They are very rarely encountered in the Southern Ocean. But when we listen for them, we can hear them over very large distances, so listening for them is an incredibly efficient way to study them.

[Blue whale song]

TEXT BOX: Sonobuoys are deployed from ships to hear and track whales up to 1000km away.

TEXT BOX: Moorings on the sea floor record ocean sounds continuously for one year.

[Whale and seal calls]

TEXT BOX: These yearly sound recordings help scientists learn more about marine mammal behaviour.

A lot of the questions that we're trying to answer; are how many whales are there, where are they, when do we see them? These are really basic fundamental questions that you need to be able to answer if you want to have any chance of conserving and managing populations of whales effectively.

[end transcript]

Antarctic lessons for space

Antarctic lessons for space

Video transcript

Going to Antarctica is like visiting another planet.

It’s extreme, confined, and isolated.

Chief Medical Officer — Dr Jeff Ayton

“We’ve got isolation for up to nine months of the year, so we can’t get people out of Antarctica. So, we have a small population of 14–25 people at Casey, Davis and Mawson and at sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.”

Australian Antarctic doctors are experts in remote medical care.

This knowledge informs space agencies planning for long-term missions to the Moon or Mars.

Chief Medical Officer — Dr Jeff Ayton

“Australia has been quite successful in undertaking space analogue research in areas such as immunology, but also mental health and behavioural health. How do teams work well together, but also how to individuals work well together and how can we support them.”

Dr Ayton will share his insights from the icy continent Aerospace Futures 2019.

[end transcript]

Total ozone over Antarctica, 2018 (NASA Ozone Watch)