The National Science Foundation’s Center for Oldest Ice Exploration (COLDEX) is conducting vital research in Antarctica, in search for the oldest possible polar ice samples to analyze. This research will help scientists gather unique knowledge to understand the evolution of Earth’s climate system throughout the years and possibly predict the future of climate change.
COLDEX researchers are already using SpaceX Starlink for reliable Internet access in Antarctica. Peter Neff, the Director for Field Research & Data at COLDEX shared on Twitter videos of a Starlink user terminal antenna in use on ice under extremely windy conditions, shown below. “Camp at Allan Hills, Antarctica is established. This team will continue exploring some of the oldest ice core climate records on Earth, as part of COLDEX_STC. Thanks to SpaceX Starlink, we can share our NSF funded work live from a US Antarctic Program-supported field camp!” said Neff via Twitter. “Despite 30 knot winds at the Allan Hills, Antarctica, where ice cores up to 2,700,000 years old have been found, SpaceX Starlink continues to give the NSF-supported COLDEX team unprecedented connectivity!”
Camp at Allan Hills, Antarctica is established. This team will continue exploring some of the oldest ice core climate records on Earth, as part of @COLDEX_STC. Thanks to @SpaceX Starlink, we can share our @NSF funded work live from a US Antarctic Program-supported field camp! pic.twitter.com/twtP8BXl64— Peter Neff (@icy_pete) December 3, 2022
“Wild that we can see what was frozen 2.7 million years ago!” replied SpaceX founder Elon Musk to the post, which includes a video of the extremely harsh weather conditions in the Polar region. It is important for explorers to have a reliable communications system to ensure safety and to collect and save data more efficiently. Starlink is supporting researchers’ science by increasing bandwidth and providing reliable connectivity. The high performance Starlink user antennas can easily be installed in any environment. SpaceX engineers manufactured the Starlink hardware to withstand extreme temperatures between -22°F to +122°F (Fahrenheit). The phased array antenna has the capability to automatically increase its own temperature to melt snow that may accumulate above the dish surface to improve internet performance during harsh weather conditions.
Wild that we can see what was frozen 2.7 million years ago!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 5, 2022
In September, the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) base shared that they installed a Starlink terminal in the community, which is the largest base in Antarctica, capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents who are conducting research in the region. NSF also shared a photograph of a square-shape Starlink antenna installed on top of the building, pictured below.
NSF-supported USAP scientists in #Antarctica are over the moon! Starlink is testing polar service with a newly deployed user terminal at McMurdo Station, increasing bandwidth and connectivity for science support. pic.twitter.com/c3kLGk8XBV— National Science Foundation (@NSF) September 14, 2022
As of today, SpaceX operates approximately 3,268 internet-beaming Starlink satellites in Low Earth Orbit that provide high-speed connection to over a million users globally. Philanthropic YouTuber ‘Mr. Beast’, who makes entertaining videos, shared that he visited the remote icy region to film a video:“I spent the last week in Antarctica without signal, what did I miss?” he wrote via Twitter. –“Starlink works in even the most remote regions of Antarctica,” replied Musk. Starlink is already available in nearly 50 countries located across all seven continents. Visit Starlink.com for more information.
Starlink works in even the most remote regions of Antarctica— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 5, 2022
Featured Image Source: COLDEX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.