The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is part of the Natural Environment Research Council based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It has a long and distinguished history, for over 60 years, undertaking the majority of Britain’s scientific research on and around the Antarctic continent.
The UK’s interest in the region goes back some 200 years in which it has been a leader in Antarctic science and exploration since Captain James Cook became the first person to sail around the continent in the 1770’s. The most famous British expeditions to the Antarctic took place during the so-called “heroic age” at the start of the 20th Century.
Primarily remembered for their extraordinary feats of courage and endurance, the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton had important scientific goals. During the southern winter before the fateful push for the pole, Scott’s expedition gathered large amounts of scientific data. Undoubtedly the most hard won were five emperor penguin eggs, which three men travelled for more than a month in the middle of the Antarctic winter to collect, in the hope they would shed light on the evolutionary links between reptiles and birds.