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Arctic Blast 2001

Education Curriculum & Lesson Plans

Online Classroom Dogsled Expedition


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"Roger, Over.."

The team does not carry a radio. Instead they carry a very complicated and quite incredible communication 3080A system working even from the remote Arctic region.

The communication is so important to the team that they consider the 3080A system their fourth team member and have nicknamed it "Mette".

The communication
system, including
the laptop, weighs
about 30 lbs!

Mette is actually a brand new system developed by the Danish company Thrane & Thrane. It can withstand this kind of traveling, is extremely reliable AND work at a very fast speed (up to 64K).
 

Thrane and Thrane A3080 Comm System

 

At night the team sets up the system -- turns on their little tough, handy generator and they are rocking on the ice. They hook up to the antenna, search for a satellite and BEAM it out connecting you all to the Arctic.


At the Expedition headquarters in Grand Marais, Minnesota, the report is downloaded, read and then published to the website allowing classrooms, scientists, and friends around the world to read and follow the team’s progress.

Most difficult is keeping the IBM Thinkpad computer and batteries warm. The computer has its own "sleeping bag" similar to the other team members! -- The computer itself is put in a large 2 gallon zip lock bag to protect it from condensation. Every morning Paul heats a hot water bottle and slips it inside the bag to keep the computer from freezing. The whole unit then travels in a specially built – so called 'bomb proof' – case on the sled.

The ability to send information in this manner, not only in text and still photos, but also sound and streaming video is one of the primary reasons for undertaking this kind of expeditions. It is one of the team's greatest accomplishments. The goal for the Arctic Blast 2001 expedition is to be able to transmit live video while the team is on the move and conduct live web casts. Envision watching the team chasing caribou from

"Choko" the lead dog's point of view (head cam) as he runs full blast towards them. Or the kids of Grise Fiord being able to take us all on a virtual tour of their community, the most northern village of North America. Or the world’s largest school chat orchestrated by Spank the Polar Husky Boss !!

 

Chasing Caribou by Gordon Wiltsie

 

Such communication is the future of education. By using computers and hook-ups like the 3080A system ,Polar Huskies and explorers in remote places can be communicating with students person-to-person as well as connecting all ends of the globe student to student -- Giving all of us a better understanding for each other and for the places we don’t know very much about. This way important "subjects" like the Arctic come alive! Are you having fun?

 

www.tt.dk

Visit Thrane & Thrane to learn more about the newest in communication systems...

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Photos copyright by
Gordon Wiltsie, Paul Pregont, Henrik Larsen

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