New Scientist Live: what it’s like to be an explorer in the modern age | Artificial intelligence

Expedition Ice Maidens

Nics Wetherill led an all-female ski expedition across Antarctica

Cpl Timothy Jones RLC/Crown Copyright

“We’d been pounding through the forest for a month on our own. I’d made a bad geographical error and we’d run out of food.”

This is the situation in which Will Millard, who spent over a decade studying inter-tribal trade in West Papua in the far east of Indonesia, found himself in 2012. He will be joining Antartica Nics Wetherill and European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake on stage at New on 20 September to share their experiences of exploration.

Lost in the forest, Millard and his colleagues were nowhere near any known tribes, when suddenly a little hunting dog appeared. This had to mean there were humans nearby, likely from an uncontacted tribe.

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The following morning when Millard and his colleagues woke up, there were footprints and pawprints right next to their camp. “Someone had come to look at us whilst we slept. It was a magical close encounter,” he says.

Millard and his team eventually made it back to safety, but his close encounter shows that there is

plenty still left for humans to explore right here on Earth. This includes parts of Antarctica, as Nics Wetherill well knows. She is in the Royal Army Medical Corps and led Expedition Ice Maidens, the first all-female team to ski unsupported across Antarctica. She is passionate about encouraging girls and women of all ages to stretch themselves.

British astronaut Tim Peake knows something about stretching himself to the limit. During his six months on board the International Space Station, he performed a spacewalk. As part of his training, he also had to live and work in extreme conditions underground and underwater.

All three explorers will be bringing their unique perspectives to New Scientist Live, where they will answer questions on how they prepare for extreme expeditions, what it’s really like when you get there, and the whether life can really ever be the same when you return.

Don’t miss out on what promises to be an unforgettable conversation. Book your tickets to New Scientist Live on Thursday 20 September at ExCeL London. This session is available to both VIP and standard pass holders.

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