The first person to walk to both the North and South poles is returning to the Antarctic, this time with his progeny—and some solar panels—in tow.
Polar explorer Robert Swan, 61, and son Barney, 23, have embarked on a 600-mile expedition through Antarctica—the first trek of its kind to be powered exclusively by renewable energy.
The father-son team began the eight-week mission, dubbed the South Pole Energy Challenge, on Nov. 15.
For the duration of the challenge, the duo will melt water for drinking and food preparation using a solar cell-outfitted device designed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Solar cells will also charge the batteries in the twosome’s communication devices and cameras, as well as those of the rest of the party, expedition guide Martin Barnett and documentarian Kyle O’Donoghue.
Despite the midnight sun of the Antarctic winter, solar may not be an option in more extreme temperatures. Should that be the case, the pair will rely on woodchip waste-based biofuels developed by Royal Dutch Shell.
For the explorers of the less-sustainable past, jet fuel has been the norm.
The challenge is part of the 2041 ClimateForce initiative founded by the elder Swan that focuses on the preservation of Antarctica, advocates for sustainability, promotes renewable energy and seeks to combat climate change.
By using green tools to generate power in one of the world’s harshest and most remote locales, the Swans hope to demonstrate the importance of renewable energy sources and the value of sustainable technologies.