Nebraskans are among the several thousand researchers and workers who head to Antarctica at this time of year to undertake essential research into life there and the Earth's climatic mechanics.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been an important player in the work, developing an innovative drill that allowed researchers to reach a prehistoric lake buried beneath the ice for millions of years.
The work is tough, but Dennis Duling, drill manager for UNL, said his experience growing up on a Nebraska farm prepared him well.
“When you work in Antarctica, you have to make do with what you have,” he said. “That's what we did on the farm. Nothing has served me better than my farm background.”
Duling said he realizes that some people object to the use of tax dollars in research projects in Antarctica.
But he looks at it differently, comparing the situation to space exploration.
The drill developed by UNL is allowing researchers to explore a new world with new forms of life — on Earth.
“This is good science, we're uncovering things that have never been seen before,” he said. “That's what makes Americans what they are.”