By Richard MacTough
Jonathan Weber, Founder of Marathon Studios, fulfilled his goal in traveling to all seven continents.
On Nov. 29 in Beers Lecture Hall, the entrepreneur shared his recent experience of living in Antarctica as part of the last Provost’s Colloquium of the fall semester.
Weber graduated from East Stroudsburg University in 2015 with a dual major in computer science and computer security.
He was featured in “Entrepreneur” magazine in an article on how to make $100,000 while in college.
He was recently on the TV series, The Walking Dead.
Weber spent over four months in Antartica during the 2016-2017 season.
One of the reasons he went is because a majority of the population has never set foot on the continent.
He received a job on behalf of The United States Antarctic Program (USAP).
Not only does the program hire scientists, but they hire cooks and janitors as well. The National Science Foundation funds the USAP.
“Antarctica is a place entirely dedicated to science,” said Weber. “There is no military or residency.”
Weber took a job offer to run communications and computer systems at the South Pole station.
Medical qualifications are a series of important steps in making it into the program.
It is one of the most remote places, and there months in which workers are not in contact with the outside world.
There have been some incidents in which people have died.
“I had to be medically cleared. I had to go through many tests,” said Weber. “I also had to get my wisdom teeth removed.”
Prospective workers get a set of immunizations in order to prevent bringing viruses to themselves and other workers.
Passing psychological tests is also necessary in preparing for one of the most isolated experiences in a person’s life.
There is extensive training in preparing for medical and other various emergencies.
911 is not available on the continent.
In deployment, Weber took a series of flights. He took a six-hour flight from New York to Los Angeles.
Then, he was on additional sixteen-hour flight from Los Angeles to New Zealand.
From Christchurch Airport, Weber departed on a military C-17 Jet to Mermurdo Station in Antarctica.
After two weeks, he finally arrived in the South Pole. The coldest it gets in the winter is –100 degrees.
“That is colder than the surface of Mars during the day,” Weber said.
Preparing for the weather, members are issued goggles, a knit hat and a red parka.
They are also given gloves and boots as well.
Weber watched sea life through an observation tube, saw remnants of the first explorers and joined the 300 Club.
One day, he went outside wearing only his shorts. This is a common tradition since the first team of scientists visited in 1957.
Weber had the opportunity to meet Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two humans to land on the moon.
“Buzz Aldrin showed up without really telling anybody he was coming on a tourist expedition. We found out about an hour before he showed up,” said Weber.
Weber explained how excited everyone was to meet him.
Aldrin had to be medically evacuated out of the South Pole after visiting workers.
“He had issues acclimating to the South Pole, and he was able to recover in New Zealand,” said Weber.
The South Pole station celebrated Christmas and also had a Super Bowl party.
Weber was applauded by the packed audience, which concluded the final Provost Colloquium of the year.
The program is scheduled to continue in the spring semester.
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