Your students could benefit from this man’s adventure

| September 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

He’s been threatening to do it for some time, but extreme adventurer Alex Bellini is closer than ever to his goal of living alone on an iceberg for a year. Bellini, an Italian resident in Oxford in the UK, calls his project Adrift (see: http://www.adrift-themission.com/) and explains that he’s not going to pitch a tent on an iceberg in Greenland. He wants to drop a specially designed survival capsule onto an iceberg in Greenland and live inside it for up to 12 months, or until the iceberg flips. “Whichever comes first,” says Bellini. Bellini is one of few humans willing to go to extremes to see how climate change is affecting ice sheets.

He wants to collect real-time data about ice structure. His current plan is to set off in 2018 and make the town of Ilulissat, which has a helipad and a sizable helicopter that could carry his capsule, his base. He says he’s looking for an iceberg that’s fairly flat and about 60 square metres in size that’s already floating in the water. He also needs it to be floating north, so he doesn’t end up in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A company called Survival Capsule will make Bellini’s new temporary home out of aluminium. Survival Capsule, based in Washington in the US, has been making capsules for people living in global zones threatened by tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and storm surges.

Another model is called Shelter in Space. Bellini’s capsule will have some creature comforts as well as four windows and outside cameras. He’ll be able to make short ventures outside, keeping himself attached to the capsule with a tether. Being tethered is crucial, because as the iceberg floats, it will gradually be pushed into warmer waters. It will then start melting, which will change its centre of mass and could easily turn over. Bellini will be harnessed in for protection. If the iceberg does flip, Bellini has a supply of oxygen and a GPS locator.

Bellini’s currently planning activities to do whilst in his capsule and is still on the hunt for more funding. He’s communicating with organisations and universities, that see the research potential. His biggest mission is to get permission to go ahead. In Greenland, icebergs are considered almost sacred, “like a holy cow in India,” says Bellini. To legally be allowed to actually live on one, he will need permission from Denmark.

 

Category: spring 2017

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