Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s mission to become the first to reach the South Pole famously ended in tragedy. A double tragedy, in fact, because Scott and his crew perished after finding that a rival Norwegian team had already beaten them to the punch. They died in 1912, while attempting to walk back to the Antarctic coast, having discovered nothing but a red and blue flag marking their destination. Their only consolation was that, unlike the Norwegians, they had stopped to collect valuable geological samples and other scientific information along the way. If they’d had better technology, would they have survived?
For the sake of polar explorer Ben Saunders, who’s currently in Antarctica re-tracing Scott’s steps, we certainly hope so. Saunders and his companion Tarka L’Herpiniere are in the middle of a four-month, 1,800-mile expedition, without support by air or land, to re-trace and complete Scott’s final journey. It’s the first such attempt to do so, but the journey isn’t about exploration this time: It’s more a test of human endurance. It’s also about pushing technology to its limits. Armed with a pair of Ultrabooks supplied by Intel, one of the pair’s main sponsors, and a carbon-fiber sled packed with other devices, they will attempt to survive and blog about their journey. We met up with the pair before their outbound flight from the UK to find out exactly what they were taking with them.