National Geographic has partnered with two institutes in New Zealand to provide its readers and viewers with unprecedented glimpse of what its like to work on the frontiers of science at New Zealand’s Scott Base in Antarctica.
The partnership between Nat Geo, New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI) and Antarctica New Zealand includes significant funding to support scientific research and an agreement whereby Nat Geo will be showcasing the challenging work undertaken by the researchers and support staff through a global television series, articles in its magazine and multimedia content on its Web platforms.
Antarctica can be considered a continent of science with almost everyone on the continent engaged in some sort of activity pertaining to science. They might be performing science experiments themselves, or supporting scientists in their work.
Nat Geo likens Antarctica to a space station that is on ice with each person on base doing their part to keep the science running and to make this place habitable, from contemplating how to drill through the 1,000-foot-thick Ross Ice Shelf to how to serve hot meals to a cold crew to gearing up and guiding teams to brave the elements on the ice.
Through the deal, National Geographic will be able to accompany research expeditions, and document life in this isolated outpost like never before.
“There is no one but National Geographic who can truly offer a 360-degree look inside this important scientific community,” said John Francis, vice president for research, conservation and exploration at the National Geographic Society. “The work being done here, not just by the scientists, but the army of support staff is heroic, and the world should know about it.”
“NZARI is excited to be entering into this new partnership with the National Geographic Society. It will help us launch some challenging new research expeditions deep into the interior of Antarctica to investigate how vulnerable Antarctica and its ice sheets and ice shelves are, as the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere warm. At the same time we hope to learn how the changing ice cover and temperatures will impact the fragile and iconic life of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean,” says Professor Gary Wilson, director of NZARI.
The coverage is expected to include inside access to those on the ground who keep this isolated world running, including traveling with helicopter pilots and crew who work in numbing temperatures flying teams across giant glaciers, ice shelves and to wildlife colonies, while the base team monitors storms and white-outs approaching.
Nat Geo revealed that its team will be right alongside scientists researching charismatic megafauna – the great predators of the Southern Ocean. The camera teams will also be driving shotgun with the brave men and women who clear the roads (after building them) to transport scientists, and then build camps for their three-week field work out in the elements.
The series is expected to air on National Geographic Channel in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 45 languages.