Passport to Knowledge

Electronic field trips to scientific frontiers
via interactive television and on-line networks
made possible, in part, by
the National Science Foundation, NASA, and public television.

Dear Educator,

Remote...alien...distant...Terra Australis Incognita, the "unknown southern land"...the "last place on Earth"....

For most of human history, and still for most people today, Antarctica is a blank, a great white continent covered with ice, unconnected to daily life back in the industrial world. Scientists know differently: the southern oceans are the planet's air conditioner; the Antarctic ice is a litmus paper sampling pollutants in Earth's atmosphere; the polar ozone hole is an indicator of possible global climate change. We are all connected, whether we know it or not, to Antarctica.

Now, for the first time, modern telecommunications allows us to jump the physical barriers of storm-tossed seas and vast ice-sheets, and links us directly to the men and women who know this astonishing place best. LFA 2 will take students along, on board the Research Vessel Polar Duke, across the Drake Passage-some of the roughest seas on Earth-to Palmer Station on Anvers Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula. Palmer is the jewel of NSF's U.S. Antarctic Program, populated even at the height of the season by less than 50 researchers-joined this year by 6 intrepid videographers and telecommunications specialists. Through their efforts, students here in the States will be able to interact directly with scientists on ship and on the tiny islands where Adelie penguins, seals and skuas make their homes. This will be the first time Palmer has ever been connected by video to the outside world, and NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite team are traveling with us to experiment with innovative telecommunications devices operating under extreme conditions.

Our three live programs will combine pre-taped sequences showing the daily life of the researchers, with "You Are There" live interactions in which scientists let students look over their shoulders, in real time, at the creatures and conditions they're studying, and answer live and e-mail questions. It's ambitious, incredibly exciting... and yes, we have contingency plans!

This Guide is your "passport" to sharing this unprecedented experience with your students. It provides all an educator needs to know to implement Live From Antarctica 2 successfully in a wide variety of grades and subject areas. Most importantly, it provides Activities which will allow your students to simulate, in class or at home, the research they'll see on camera or on-line. The Guide and videos also point students to the on-line resources which allow them to come to know the researchers much more personally than would be possible through textbooks or any other medium.

Perhaps one or more of the students who watch with you, log on to read the latest Field Journal, or experiment with plants or phytoplankton, will one day venture south in actuality, and contribute to a new generation of discovery.

We're privileged to be working with NASA, NSF and public television to bring this incredible opportunity to you, and we also thank you for your commitment to the future.


Erna Akuginow
Executive Producer

Geoffrey Haines-Stiles
Project Director

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