[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 11 December, 2004, 10:01 GMT
Scientists study Antarctic life
Scientists deploying instruments to hang 50m under water
The scientists are looking for life forms on the ice
Two Bangor University scientists are taking part in an expedition to the frozen oceans surrounding Antarctica.

David Thomas and Stathis Papadimitriou are half way through a 50-day expedition on board an icebreaker, complete with laboratory.

The German-led expedition is looking for life forms adapted to living on the ice which could provide clues to possible life on frozen planets.

The scientists will spend Christmas on board ship before returning in January.

We have three Christmas trees on board, and will be having a party
Dr David Thomas

The two scientists from the School of Ocean Science at the University of Wales, Bangor, are among 50 from countries including Brazil, Russia, Holland and the USA on the expedition.

After spending three weeks travelling to their frozen destination in the Weddell Sea, the scientists are working long hours in the 24-hour Antarctic light.

Dr Thomas said, "The trip is going OK, and the past week has seen a lot of samples coming in.

"The mood on board is good, although we are all concerned that the half way point is coming up on Sunday.

Map of Antarctica
The expedition is in the frozen Weddell Sea

"The time is simply passing by too quickly."

Dr Thomas said that the scientists were comfortable on board ship, despite the conditions in the Antarctic.

He said: "We are on a ship with all the mod cons.

"If you look out the window on the left you can see ice, if you look out the window on the right you can see ice.

"You can even walk out into the ice. It's not only beautiful to look at but it's also easy to work with."

The scientists will celebrate Christmas although celebrations will be kept brief to continue work on the project.

Dr Thomas added: "We have three Christmas trees on board, and will be having a reception and party.

"We will be taking a short break for Christmas because of our sample work."

The ship's location is near the point where legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship became trapped in ice in 1915.

The explorer and his crew were marooned in ice for months, but he eventually led his men to safety following an 800-mile journey to South Georgia to get aid.

Scientists in Shackleton's steps
23 Mar 04 |  North West Wales
Two new dino species discovered
01 Mar 04 |  Science/Nature
Rescue plan for Shackleton hut
25 Mar 03 |  Science/Nature
Shackleton papers 'saved for the nation'
25 Sep 01 |  Science/Nature


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific