impossible2Possible team has announced their next expedition, and continuing with their tradition of running through some of the more remote, and beautiful, destinations, the i2P youth ambassadors will next turn their sites on the Atacama Desert. As with all of the organization's efforts, part of the expedition's mission will be to engage students in classroom through a mix of education and adventure.
Expedition Atacama will take place in May of this year, with the i2P youth ambassadors running approximately 300 km (186 miles) along part of the same route that impossible2Possible founder Ray Zahab ran when he crossed the desert north-to-south back in 2011. Ray's journey covered 1200 km (745 miles), passing through some of the harshest environments on the planet. Thanks to a rain shadow created by Chile's Pacific mountain range on one side, and the Andes on the other, the Atacama is one of the driest places on Earth. It also happens to fall at a fairly high altitude, with much of the region rising above 3000 meters (9842 feet), which can be problematic for anyone who hasn't acclimatized properly. As a result, it'll push these runners to their limits on a daily basis.
But the Atacama is known for more than just being a high altitude desert. It also happens to have some of the clearest skis on the planet, granting visitors some of the best views of stars that can be found anywhere. This is due to an almost complete lack of cloud cover, and a lack of light pollution. Because of this great view of the heavens, the desert is also home to several astronomical observatories, including ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), which is the highest observatory in the world at 5098 meters (16,725 feet).
With the Atacama being such an important location for scientific research, the i2P educational elements for this expedition will focus on astronomy. The theme will revolve around the origins of the universe, which is something that scientists often visit the Atacama to study as well. The youth expedition will offer a number of lesson plans focused on that subject, with an emphasis on the planets, stars, galaxies and black holes, and a host of other astronomy related subjects.
If you're a teacher who would like to incorporate the i2P lesson plans into your classroom, registration to take part in the expedition is open now. As always, the lessons are free, and seek to blend adventure and education in a seamless way that is very engaging to students.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of what impossible2Possible does. Having been to the Atacama myself, I know just how spectacular a place it actually is. I will certainly be following along with the youth ambassadors when they hit the trail next month, as I'm sure this will be yet another very successful venture for the organization.