The Foundation helped to support projects that studied coral reefs, glaciers, and the origins of religion in Tibet. Awards totaled $2,000

Endless Summer 2000
Category : Use of space technology to study the Earth’s environment
Institution : University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Endless summer was a unique blend of exploration and science in the Southern Ocean. The venture, two years in duration, involved a complete circumnavigation of the Southern Ocean. The expedition, in the polar-hardened steel vessel the Gambo, involved studying man-made compounds in glaciers, sea-ice thickness and measuring a variety of ice parameters with ground penetrating radar and gamma-ray detection to help constrain models of climate change. The circum-navigation of the Southern Ocean offers the opportunity for an extensive dataset. The expedition, led by Alun Hubbard of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, relies on both GPS and satellite communications for navigation, scientific waypoints and communication of ice and snow data with NASA Marshall. The satellite data was essential to prevent the expedition becoming beset in ice in the 47′ vessel. Communication of data occurs in real-time during the expedition. As well as scientific objectives, the expedition had a wide variety of exploratory objectives, including a variety of technical climbing and cold-water scuba operations.

Mapping Mars-like glacial features in Svalbard, Norway
Category : Study of Earth environments to understand extraterrestrial environments
Institution : University of Leeds, UK

Based in the Oscar II land in Svalbard, Norway, this Leeds University expedition (UK) studied the patterns and morphology of supraglacial streams. The patterns were compared to models of river channel formation. Satellite imagery of channels on the glaciers can be used, coupled with aerial photographs and field measurements, to study how the channels and streams form. Basic field equipment was also used to study the speed of channel discharge. The research is interesting, because, by building up studies of channels and streams and their morphological features, we can begin to develop better models to study channels and streams on Mars and to determine whether they are of glacial origin or not.

Unravelling the history of Tibet
Category : Use of space technology to study the Earth’s environment
Institution : Oxford University, UK

The expedition undertook a study of the origins of religion in Tibet. Bon is a religion that pre-dates Buddhism by several hundred years. However, it has also been used to refer to a religion that arose after Buddhism. The expedition studied the origins of both types of religion and how it fits into the broader context of contemporary Tibetan culture and society. The expedition, with the patronage of Sir Wilfred Thesiger, used GPS to mount their expeditions to the Sutlej valley and to organize a four week trek across the Changtang plateau.

A study of the sociology of exploration
Category : Use of space technology to study the Earth’s environment
Institution : Independent, Canada

Labrrador 2000 was originally a 600 mile unsupported traverse of Canadian wilderness by canoe. GPS was to be used to navigate through thousands of lakes and rivers and satellite telephone was to be used to update the web site and to transmit video images and text to outreach programs. The expedition had the objective of making a direct comparison to the expedition of 1905 (both expeditions were led by women) and to study how the enthnographical and environmental conditions have changed during that time as a study in the sociology of exploration. A major physical injury during the course of the expedition meant that the lives of the expedition team ultimately depending on satellite communications to radio for assistance in one of the Canada’s remotest areas. The team were successfully airlifted home.

Coral reefs in Malaysia – studying them and educating local people
Category : Use of space technology to study the Earth’s environment
Institution : Greenforce

Funding to Hannah Steward, an undergraduate at the University of Aston, UK for initiative in taking part in a Greenforce expedition to the Island of Pulau Banggi near Borneo for 10 weeks. The expedition was established to investigate the biodiversity of coral reefs off the island. The research is part of a plan by the University of Malaysia to develop formal management schemes for the area. She also undertook inventories on the mangrove and forest habitats. As well as lecturing to local schools in the UK she worked along side local scientists and students in the field to help them understand how to study the biology of the region and manage it. The expedition involved extensive use of GPS and satellite imagery in the field.

Animal distributions in Madagascar
Category : Use of space technology to study the Earth’s environment
Institution : University of Edinburgh, Scotland

The expedition undertook a survey of the Lemur populations on Madagascar. The use of satellite imagery and GPS technology allowed the expedition to map animal distributions in the forest. Ambodiriana is one of the last forest reserves in the island of Madagascar and under the government’s recent National Environment Action Plan, has been targeted as an area that should be protected and studied. The government is keen to set aside some areas of the island to protect the endemic life on the island. The university is working with ADEFA, an agency dedicated to protecting the Ambodiriana.