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Ice Station Antarctica opens

25 May 2007

Calling all ice cadets,  are you up for the challenge?

Find out if you can survive the extreme conditions of the fragile Antarctica continent at the Natural History Museum's new family blockbuster experience, Ice Station Antarctica .

Enlist as an ice cadet and under the guidance of the Ice Station Commander brave a variety of exciting Antarctic challenges, from coping in sub-zero temperatures to riding a snowmobile.

Alex Gaffikin tries the snowmobile at Ice Station Antarctica.

Alex Gaffikin tries the snowmobile at Ice Station Antarctica.

Alex Gaffikin, Ice Station Antarctica exhibition developer at the Natural History Museum, spent two and a half years working at British Antarctic Survey's Halley research station.

'At Ice Station Antarctica we'll really see if you've got what it takes to brave Antarctica,' says Alex. 'Every year hundreds of scientists and staff travel to Antarctica, braving harsh conditions and freezing temperatures in order to carry out crucial scientific research. It's a tough job, I should know, having worked there myself.'

Antarctic zones

There are various mini-environments in the exhibition where you can learn and explore the coldest, windiest and most remote place on Earth.

In Zone 1 you can try on some real Antarctic clothing and plunge yourself into a freezer room set to minus 10 degrees Celcius. In Zone 2 you get to sniff and examine penguin vomit to find bits of fish, squid and krill. You'll also see one of the largest flying birds, the albatross.

Have a go at diving in the Antarctic waters and see some gigantic and unusual sea creatures in Zone 3. There are no fire brigades or rescue services in Antarctica so see if you can stay cool when the base station runs some emergency scenarios in Zone 4.

Zone 5 has a snowmobile that you get to drive around to collect meteorites and Zone 6 helps you find out how to camp, and survive, in Antarctica. How do you got keep alive during a storm, and how on Earth will you go to the toilet in a blizzard?

You can see Antarctic animals such as penguins at Ice Station Antarctica.

You can see Antarctic animals such as penguins at Ice Station Antarctica.

Could you spend two months in the dark? Zone 7 lets you experience the ultimate challenge. Ice Station Antarctica gives you a taste of claustrophobia with a hint of paranoia thrown in - if sensory deprivation isn't your thing, move on.

Finally, in Zone 8, your results are assessed and you find out which job you could do in Antarctica. Perhaps a geologist, or a diver, or maybe it's all been too much and you'd prefer to stay at home….

Online expedition

Remember to keep your ticket from the exhibition. It has a barcode that allows you to continue your journey after your visit by signing up for the exciting  online expedition.

Login to the special area for ice graduates on the website, and you will see your personal ice station desk and journal. This shows a record of how you did in the interactives in the exhibition and also records your progress as you continue with more games and challenges online.

You get personal messages from the Ice Station Commander and regular emails as he helps you through the various challenges, and you can download your Ice Station Antarctica Certificate of Graduation.

The online expedition takes a couple of months and at the end of it you will have all the skills you need to survive in Antarctica, well maybe!

Ice Station Antarctica is open until 20 April 2008 and is developed in partnership with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). It's also one of the highlights of the UK's involvement in International Polar Year (2007/8 ).

Further Information