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Humans' Survival in Extremely Cold Temperatures

            Living in extremely cold environments such as the north and south, poles of the Earth, has many challenges for most species. This report explores how humans are affected by the extremes, and the many ways they may survive. One of the biggest challenges for humans to survive in cold extremes, is loss of heat from the body. The average temperature for Antarctica is -50°C, with the lowest temperature ever recorded being -89°C at Vostok Station. There are up to 5,000 people working in Antarctica, and because of this temperature, they and their equipment/machinery, without aid, would not survive. The human body is not designed for extreme cold, most of us live in temperate climates. Although some groups have learned to adapt to this, such as the Inuit in Arctic Canada, the vast majority of humans have no experience with this kind of cold. In this environment, there is the potential that workers would experience hypothermia. When someone is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for a prolonged amount of time, heat is lost mostly through the skin, while the rest is exhaled from the lungs. This is because living cells are made mostly of protein, and are easily destroyed when temperatures reach higher than 45°C and lower than -10°C. At these cold temperatures, Ice water is forms in the cells, and it is this what kills them. This is why humans are not able to survive, naturally, in the extreme cold. Humans do not, like many organisms who have adapted, produce, "antifreeze," chemicals. However, they may use technological modifications to provide heat energy to keep their cells, and therefore, themselves, alive. Simple things such as wearing many layers of insulating material help humans to survive in the extreme cold. .
             Another challenge for humans in an extremely cold environment such as Antarctica, is the freezing of liquids in the engines of machinery and vehicles. Being in such an environment, one would prefer not to have walking as their primary mode of transportation, so machines and vehicles have been used in Antarctica since the early twentieth century.

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