10 fun things about Antarctica

1. In winter, when the sea freezes, the Antarctic continent acquires a size equivalent to the US and Mexico extension together.

2. The first tourists who arrived in Antarctica were in 1957, when a Pan American flight from Christchurch, New Zealand, landed briefly on McMurdo Sound.

3. It is estimated that at one point there are 300.000 icebergs sailing in the Antarctic Ocean and surrounding the continent like a belt of white asteroids.

4. Why the penguins legs do not freeze in the ice? Because otherwise they would boil with heat. Their coats and their fat are so effective that the legs literally serve them as air conditioning.

5. A few months after the first moon landing, in 1969, a team of Japanese glaciologists made an equally important discovery: the first 9 meteorites found in Antarctica. Since then, the collection has grown to 20.000 copies. There are two explanations for this abundance: on the white icy surface it is easier to see them and the perpetual movement of the ice concentrates them and crowds them against the transantarctic mountains, the best place in the world to find meteorites.

6. “I simply do not believe that anyone on Earth has a hard time as the emperor penguin” (“Yo, simplemente, no creo que nadie en la Tierra la pase tan mal como el ping├╝ino emperador”), said Apsley Cherry-Garrard, an english antarctic explorer, in the book “The Worst Journey in the World” (“El Peor Viaje del Mundo”) classified by National Geographic as “one of the 100 best adventure books of all time”. The play narrates the odyssey of three men on a scientific expedition to get penguin eggs.

7. According to the Antarctic Treaty, which has governed the continent since 1961, Antarctica does not belong to any country. It is a continent destined for science, where mining operations are prohibited. The member countries of the treaty represent 80% of the world population.

8. There is an “Antarctic currency”. It is called the Antarctic dollar and although it has no legal value, it is the most sensational object for a collector. The Antarctic dollars are issued by the Antarctica Overseas Exchange Office, which donates a large part of the proceeds to student projects that intend to do science on the ice. In addition, they are the most spectacular tickets, adorned with penguins and icebergs.

9. The Antarctic fiction literature began five centuries ago with the publication in 1605 of Mundus Alter et Idem (“Another World and Yet the Same”), by the british Bishop Joseph Hall. The book is about a traveler who finds Antarctica populated with gluttons, drunks and eccentrics.

10. In 1999 a couple got married at the Amundsen-Scott station of the geographic South Pole, with their companions holding hands in a circle around the ceremonial pole. The lucky couple spent their first night of honeymoon in a heated tent.

[Photo from Pixabay]

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