Destination: South Pole

The Southern Polar Award

First Offered : 1994 – Status : Unclaimed

The Goal

Become the first expedition team to complete a successful, unsupported overland attempt on the Martian south geographical pole.

The Pole

The south pole is composed of a combination of dry ice (carbon dioxide) and water ice. Summer temperatures at the south pole get down to -130C.

The Martian south pole varies extensively depending upon the season. At its peak, it extends halfway to the equator, making it much larger than the north pole. During the summer months, it shrinks rapidly. During the height of summer the geographic pole is not actually covered by the residual, permanent, ice cap, making an attempt on the pole a potentially desert-like expedition.

Claiming the Award

Any team that hopes to claim the Southern Polar Award must begin an overland assault from a position at 80 degrees South or at a lesser latitude, regardless of the position of the polar cap. They may return along the direction from which they came or continue a transpolar assault. Whatever route they choose, it must include a traverse over the residual ice cap.

This award was established in 1994. The team will collect the Foundation’s award which includes a trophy containing a symbolic rock sample from outside of the door of Scott’s hut in Antarctica, from where his fateful expedition left to attempt to reach the Earth’s south pole. The award has a plaque that bears the date of establishment of the award and a space for the names of the expedition team.