Two Brazilian researchers will take part in the first Latin American scientific expedition to the South Pole. The expedition is being organized by the Chilean government.
Jefferson Cardia Simões will be the first Brazilian to cross the continent of Antarctica and reach the South Geographic Pole.
The team, which is made up of 32 Chileans and two Brazilians, with 42 tons of equipment and supplies, has left yesterday from the Patriot Hills base in Chile.
The expedition will last two and a half months and is expected to reach the South Geographic Pole at the end of November.
They will then make a slow return to Patriot Hills, conducting various studies on the Antarctic ice and its interactions with the climate.
The 2,500 kilometer round-trip will be made with the aid of a polar tractor that will haul various sleds carrying laboratories, accomodations, and food.
The second Brazilian member of the team, Francisco Aquina will do research on climate at the Chilean Patriot Hills station (80º south latitude).
Aquino and Simões are professors in the Nucleus of Antarctic and Climatic Research at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.
Simões is also a researcher for the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Brazilian Antarctic Program (Proantar).
The scientific equipment for the expedition is being financed by the CNPq, a development agency attached to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The equipment includes an ice-drill capable of boring up to 50 meters and radar for the team’s security. All the laboratory work is being financed by the CNPq.
The chief goal of the expedition is to advance investigations of the role of Antarctica in global environmental changes, especially in controlling the climate of South America.
Simões will gather samples of the snow that has accumulated over the last 400 years. At the same time, the Chilean researchers will study the movement of Antarctic ice.