Watch: Expedition heads for Antarctica to unlock frozen mysteries

An expedition to Antarctica is underway, hoping to gain new insight into the effects of global warming and discover what remains of an historic polar journey.

The team will use underwater robots to assess the significance of enormous icebergs breaking away from a massive ice-shelf.

The expedition will study a part of our planet only rarely glimpsed - underneath the great sheets of ice that reach across the seas around the southern pole.

On board they're plotting a course to the unknown Antarctic depths.

"What I'm really excited about is us being the first people to put an autonomous underwater vehicle - a free-swimming robot - underneath the frozen ice-shelf at the Larsen Sea," Voyage leader John Shears told ITV News.

The team are going to investigate an ice-shelf - a vast expanse of ice which hangs off the Antarctic landmass.

The Larsen Sea has been having an unsteady time. Eighteen months ago, an enormous iceberg - so big it could fit London on top of it five times and still have room leftover - broke away.

The scientists have brought the very latest in exploration technology to have a look at what the rupture might reveal.

Remote-controlled submarines will map the underside of the shelf and the seabed, and come back the scientists hope, with some answers about sea temperature and climate change.

"The expedition wants to go and see what kind of animals live in that region where it's very cold and very remote," Scott Base Research Institute's Charlotte Connelly said. 

They also want to study the ice, she said, and see what's happening to it.

The expedition sails in the wake of a legend. It was in those seas, 100 years ago, when the British explorer Ernest Shackleton walked his crew 300 miles to safety after their ship got trapped in the fast-forming ice and was crushed under the pressure.

Finding the shipwreck is another objective on this modern mission through the treacherous ocean at the bottom of the Earth where the age of exploration is far from over.

ITV News / Newshub. 

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