Questions & Answers Wk 12

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Every week Team GoNorth! answers ten questions related to the module topic from student explorers -- so stay tuned and submit YOUR questions!

It is basically a full-time job to prepare the electronics to go in the field and to keep them working while we are out there. The most important thing is to ensure that the electronics do not collect moisture on the inside parts. To avoid this, it is very important that we warm all the equipment up to inside temperature (inside the tent's temperature) before we try to turn it on. And we keep everything in Ziploc bags and as airtight as possible for the same reason.

So, when we need to use the computers on Education Day, the morning starts around 5 am to get the heat going in the tent. Then, we take the computers and lay with them in the sleeping bags, for example. It easily takes 3-4 hours to get everything—cords, computers, cameras, etc. warmed up from the time we wake up. Then we need to power everything—including the batteries for the cameras that we use during the week.

We have three ways to power our technology. We use solar power whenever possible. Then we have a small Honda generator. Last, we have what is called "expedition grab it batteries." These work for a number of hours down to -40 degrees F (-40 C), but cannot be recharged. They are good if we run completely out of other power sources.

How do you keep all of your electronics working? Did you have to bring a lot of batteries with you? How do you charge your computers and stuff?

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Polar Huskies are bred for what they are doing. They are Native to polar conditions (thus their name!) and we carefully nurture to keep their characteristics that enable them to survive and be healthy in Arctic conditions. That means Polar Huskies are burly dogs that cannot be sprinting all day or they will overheat. The trick is their double layered coat which covers all areas that could otherwise be exposed and prone to frostbite— including in between their paw pads, and even inside their ears.

Can the dogs get frostbite?

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Great great question!!

Yes, this a major concern of ours while out on the expedition. The Arctic is actually a dessert - a polar dessert. So, it is very dry, and our bodies loose a lot of water in a day - sweating (!) and just breathing in the cold air.

Add to that, that if we do get dehydrated, it is very dangerous and can lead to hypothermia.

An adult normally loses about a quart (1 liter) of water a day through evaporation from the skin and lungs. But during a day of strenuous activity—such as traveling alongside the dogsled and setting up and breaking down camp—we loose 2-3 gallons (10 liters) of water from our body.

The tricky part for the Team members is that, in the cold, you tend to think less about drinking … and if you wait until you feel thirsty, you are already behind in water consumption since "thirst" indicates that yes, you are getting dehydrated!!

If you ask Mille, she will tell you that she finds it difficult to drink that much water …. But if she doesn’t drink it, she will get sick from dehydration. Dehydration worsens fatigue, decreases our ability to exercise efficiently, and reduces mental alertness. You can even go into shock. In short, dehydration is very dangerous and, in the worst case, may lead to hypothermia—a deadly condition.

Staying hydrated is simply a cornerstone in Arctic traveling.

Do you ever get dehydrated on the trail?

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