As "the hell of the Weddell Sea" ended the mission to rescue the legendary ship of Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica

in weddell •  3 months ago 

The mission to rescue the famous ship of the explorer Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica came to an end, without success.

The expedition led by British researchers abandoned the search after one of its submarine autonomous vehicles was trapped under the ice.

The ship of Shackleton, called Endurance, sank in 1915 and it is estimated that its remains are about 3,000 meters deep.

One of the great challenges for the scientists was to navigate between the ice blocks of the Weddell Sea, in the west of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The investigators put an end to the mission to prevent their own vessel from being trapped and having an end similar to the famous Shackleton vessel.

"Everyone on our team is clearly disappointed that we were not successful in our mission to find the Endurance," said Mensun Bound, exploration director of Weddell Expedition 2019.

"Like Shackleton, who described the site of the Endurance's sinking as 'the worst place in the worst sea in the world', our plans were superseded by the rapid movement of ice and what Shackleton himself called 'the hellish conditions of the Sea.' of Weddell '".

The complex mission to find the Endurance, the legendary ship that sank in the Antarctic more than 100 years ago
The goal of the Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton was to cross the frozen continent from coast to coast.

Shackleton and his men managed to disembark in the Antarctic northwest aboard the Endurance, a term that can be translated as resistance.

But a few days later, the boat was caught between blocks of ice driven by strong winds that compressed and destroyed the ship.

Shackleton managed to keep his men together and guided the crew to a place from which they were eventually rescued by an icebreaker from the Chilean Navy.

The fascinating story of the Endurance, the ship that sank in Antarctica 100 years ago and that scientists want to refloat
The map that reveals the last days of Shackleton's incredible odyssey in Antarctica

Global warming

Despite not finding the Endurance, the mission to the Weddell Sea did achieve other scientific objectives.

The main reason for the expedition was to study the Larsen C ice shelf, from which the A68 iceberg fell off in 2017.

Understanding the interactions of ice and climate is critical to estimate the impact of ice melting due to global warming.

The researchers managed to map the bottom of the sea under the platform with autonomous underwater vehicles.

"Thanks to the information gathered during the expedition, we have deepened our understanding of oceanography and the ecosystems of Antarctica," said Julian Dowdeswell, mission leader and director of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England.

"Our observations on the glaciology and geology of this area will be fundamental to understand the changes that are occurring today."

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