Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Monday, March 13, 2006

Good Work Lads!

Antarctica Update
Ralph Buttigieg
Sydney NSW Australia

The JRM Antarctic Expedition has crossed the Antarctic Circle and come to an end. They had hoped to paddle their Kayak further south but the ice prevented progress. You may ask why bother? Whats the use of paddling 800 km around Antarctica? I 'll let Andrew answer it.

It has been said that polar expeditions are a useless exercise that serve no purpose. Paddling to an unmarked spot on a featureless ocean certainly felt a little pointless.

However on the up side, expeditions are without doubt a celebration of human endeavour. There is something special about a small team of friends working towards a common goal, taking on carefully calculated risks in a hostile environment, and doing so safely. It's also a heck of a lot better than staying at home and watching TV.

In measuring the success of this expedition, we've had a short time to reflect on what's happened over the past weeks. We didn't get quite as far south as we had hoped. However, we paddled around 800km along the harshest and most inhospitable coastline in the world. We did so safely, without a resupply, and in the face of difficult conditions. We returned as friends. We had an awesome time in one of the most incredible places on the planet. Sounds like success to me.

Humans have curiosity and a need for new challenges . It would be a sad world indeed if such “useless” endeavours were banned. The trouble is that Earth is losing its physical frontiers. We need frontiers to challenge us to allow us to expand and allow liberty to flourish. Without a frontier expect wars and stagnation. That's the reason I'm a great believer in Space and Ocean exploration. We need real frontiers. In banning colonisation of Antarctica we closed the continent from its full potential.

Antarctic explorers like the JRM team should be opening frontiers for human development not just be having a great adventure. Hopefully we won't make the same mistake with Space and Oceans.


The JRM Expedition has come to a close but there are a couple of other interesting adventures starting in a few weeks. I'll let you know about them in good time.