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Antarctica is a continent covered in ice located in the far south of our planet and surrounded by the Southern Ocean. It is the coldest, driest and highest region in the world. The Antarctic continent alone holds nearly 80% of the fresh water reserve on earth in the form of ice which rests on the continental shelf. The polar regions to the north and south are warming very quickly. The consequences of this rise in temperatures are multiple: melting ice and detachment of large icebergs, rise in global sea and ocean levels in the future, repercussions on the Southern Ocean and the circumpolar current.

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The main objective of the expedition is to cross the Antarctic continent independently and without external assistance. This white odyssey will take place during the austral summer of 2025 from the Novo base to the French scientific base Dumont d'Urville located on the East coast via the geographic South Pole. Beyond the simple sporting challenge that this crossing could represent and which would not make sense, the desired goals are multiple. The first is scientific with the collection of data and measurements carried out in vivo to show the consequences of global warming and the direct consequences on this isolated region of the globe.
Another goal is technological with the use of a means of transport that is environmentally friendly, energy autonomous and innovative because to date never used in Antarctica. A final goal is to show human adaptation capacities in this type of physiologically aggressive environment linked to isolation, confinement and climatic constraints.

Fly over the Antarctic continent with this NASA map


The expedition will be an opportunity to validate the use of a land vehicle capable of moving with the force of the wind and using wind energy without carbon emissions: the Antarctic Observer on board which the members of the team and whose overall architecture is that of a sand yacht composed of a habitable cell. In this context, technical adaptations have been designed to meet the mission's specifications and are the subject of series of full-scale and field tests. Proof of the concept of using this innovative means of travel should open the way for the use of this innovative and environmentally friendly mode of travel because it is fossil fuel-free.

Examples of using the sand yacht on ice and snow in North America

Antarctic Observer prototype





The colors of the expedition will be worn by two enthusiasts of inhospitable regions to explore and driven by a taste for adventure in its most general sense of the term and the fact that an adventure is beautiful to live and share if it has sense. It is in this context that Jean-Michel Pontier and Sophie Poupart-Piquot wish to engage in this project of crossing the Antarctic continent and bring this scientific, technical and human adventure to life.

The public and private institutional partners who will accompany and have decided to support the expedition will be able to count on the commitment of the two protagonists of this original adventure.

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Sophie Poupart-Piquot

She will be responsible for coordinating the scientific program of the expedition. It will be the link between the different teams involved in the experimental protocol which will have been validated upstream. She will be responsible for collecting recorded data and taking samples in the field continuously during the crossing. It will ensure the real-time transmission of all the results from the measurements carried out and will keep the observation notebook up to date. At the same time, she will be keen to bring to life and animate the educational aspect of the expedition in the field of Life, Earth and Environmental sciences.

Jean-Michel Pontier

A former military doctor, he specializes in emergency medicine in isolated situations and in the field of human physiology in extreme conditions and environments. He participated in the medical support of several scientific expeditions and underwater audiovisual filming. He has also directed several documentaries, some of which have won distinctions in adventure and exploration festivals. He will be the expedition doctor and will be responsible for monitoring the adaptation of the human factor during the crossing. At the same time, he will be keen to bring to life and animate the educational component in the fields of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

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