The Willis Resilience Expedition team arrives in Antarctica and makes final preparations before embarking on journey to the South Pole
- Maiden journey for 2.6 ton truck Ice Broker
- Lightweight weather station, the Cold Facts 3000BX deployed for the first time in Antarctic
- Watch the journey unfold at www.willisresilience.com
LONDON, Dec. 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After months of preparation, and with the assistance of never-before-used technology, The Willis Resilience Expedition, whose twin goals are to advance the understanding of the planetary resilience and to test the limits of human endurance, has arrived in Antarctica for the beginning of a five week trek across the continent, set to arrive at the South Pole on or about New Year's Day.
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Led by 19-year old explorer Parker Liautaud, a sophomore at Yale University and veteran of three prior expeditions to the North Pole, the Willis Resilience Expedition will conduct three separate scientific research programs and, if successful, will allow Liautaud to make the fastest-ever walk from the edge of Antarctica to the pole and make him the youngest person ever to reach both the North and South Poles on foot.
While Parker and veteran explorer Doug Stoup will make their planned 400-mile trek on foot and unsupported, their progress will be tracked every step of the way by a 2.6 ton custom designed 6x6 Toyota Hilux truck, "The Ice Broker," capable of transmitting, via satellite, live video, telemetry, data and biometrics around the world via the Expedition Website, www.willisresilience.com. News of the Expedition, and related programming, will be broadcast on a daily one-hour television show hosted at the Website premiering on December 3. As of today, 16 separate one-hour shows are planned through December 23.
The arrival of the Expedition in Antarctica was delayed for five days due to poor weather conditions. When the weather cleared, an Ilyushin cargo plane deposited the team from its staging point in Punta Arenas, Chile at Union Glacier where they will begin Phase One of their expedition. Accompanying Parker and Doug on the flight were Ice Broker driver-mechanic Eyjo Furteitsson, cinematographer Paddy Scott and communications manager Nathan Hambrook-Skinner. During the Expedition, Eyjo, Paddy and Nathan will work to create content and share the latest developments with viewers and followers on social media around the world.
"After two years of careful planning and preparation, we are finally ready to start our journey to the South Pole. This expedition aims not only to set a new world record, but we will also collect data, which will contribute to better understanding our changing world. I am hugely excited about the challenges that lie ahead and hope that people will track our progress on the expedition website where you can follow our journey and join the debate on climate change."
- Parker Liautaud, Willis Resilience Expedition Leader
The first phase of the Willis Resilience Expedition is the scientific research program. The team will journey to the South Pole in the Ice Broker collecting valuable data, which will be shared with scientists contributing to understanding of global climate patterns. The team's first job is to deploy the ColdFacts 3000BX, a lightweight weather station. This equipment has not been used in Antarctica before and will relay meteorological data every 30 minutes. A detailed overview of the three elements of the scientific research can be found at the Expedition's Website.
From the South Pole, the Ice Broker will then take Parker and Doug Stoup to the starting point for phase two of the Expedition: Parker's world record attempt to become the fastest man on foot from coast to pole. On or around December 8, weather permitting, Parker will begin his planned route of 640 kilometers from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Geographical South Pole in 22 days, at an average distance of 29 kilometers per day on foot, a pace which will be the fastest time ever recorded on this route.
The Ice Broker performs two distinct roles during the two phases of the Willis Resilience Expedition. During the scientific phase, it will provide logistical support to the team as it samples the polar ice cap at intervals during the route and will stream live video and data online. During the world record attempt phase, the truck, with the help of two Iridium Pilot systems and a remote camera rig, will stream live footage of Parker and Doug as they trek towards the Pole allowing the expedition to be followed online across the world.
Viewers around the world can watch the Willis Resilience Expedition unfold 24/7 on the expedition website www.willisresilience.com. Starting on December 2, the Willis Resilience Expedition will also broadcast a live one hour TV show at 8.30am GMT every day from the Willis building in London. The daily shows will feature a live update from the team in Antarctica as well as interviews with guest panelists on issues of Antarctic exploration and climate change.
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 17,500 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world's leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.
The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.