| ||Dry valleys, in the form of vast expanses of rock and sand, cover 2 percent of Antarctica. These look so much like Mars that in the 70’s, NASA came here to prepare the Voyager 1 and 2 space probe missions. On the photo, the tongues of the Wright glaciers are flowing towards a dry zone, offering a magnificent contrast of matter and colours. However, one should bear in mind that this mineral landscape hosts an Antarctic wildlife which thrives on the pack ice. There are nineteen species of birds, including five species of penguins and six species of pinnipedia (seals, seal lions, sea-elephants …) all having become acclimatized in this extreme environment and coexisting with whales and a number of different fish families. The most surprising specimen is the ice fish (notothenioidei): they are almost transparent, as their blood does not contain haemoglobin, and they synthetically produce antifreeze glycoprotein allowing them to resist the icy waters. All these creatures form a varied and fragile ecosystem, preserved until now by its isolated location. In this region, life hangs upon a thread, and the tiniest imbalance could induce catastrophic effects.
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