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Antarctic Mission Zeroes In on Famous Doomed Ship

Researchers hope this week to find Ernest Shackleton's sunken Endurance
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2019 7:34 AM CST
Explorer Ernest Shackleton.   (Getty/Photos.com)

(Newser) – A team of Antarctic researchers sets off on Monday to find one of the most famous shipwrecks in history. The only thing that stands in their way is about 75 miles of ice nearly 10 feet thick in places, reports the Guardian. If they can break through, however, the researchers expect to be near the site where Ernest Shackleton's Endurance sank to the bottom of the Weddell Sea in 1915 after becoming trapped in ice. "Although the odds of success were initially against us, the mood within the team is upbeat given the favorable ice and weather conditions, which we think will allow us to reach the search area," says expedition leader Mensun Bound, per the Guardian. If all goes well, they'll get there this week.

Bound's team has been in the area for the last two weeks studying the Larsen C Ice Shelf and a gigantic iceberg known as A68, reports the BBC. But those scientific missions are now complete, and weather conditions have made it possible for them to try to find the Endurance, whose last known coordinates were logged by Shackleton's navigator before the crew abandoned ship and survived an epic five-month journey to safety. Assuming the SA Agulhas II icebreaker makes it near the spot where Shackleton's ship went down, the researchers will send down unmanned robots to explore the seabed. The hope is that the Weddell Sea's frigid temperatures have left the ship largely in decent shape. (Another Antarctic explorer didn't turn back in time.)

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