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Day 47: What are the challenges ahead of us?

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Stephen Marsh Stephen Marsh | 12:15 UK time, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

d ~ 120'921'600 km in Earth's orbit

Today we are 47 days in (GMT) with 318 days to go for us to complete another full orbit around the Sun.

The 23 Degrees team has returned from its adventures in South America to a well earned rest. Well not quite, as the team are already planning a trip to Greenland just north of the arctic circle to go hunting with the Inuit. Even though most of the northern hemisphere is warming up the ice in Greenland has been growing. This is good news for the hunters as they can travel far out onto the sea ice and hunt seals.

On paper that sounds like an easy proposition but in reality there's four flights each way, and then once they land the only form of transport are dog sleds. There are no roads and no motorised vehicles. It may sound primitive but it's worked for the Inuits for hundreds of years and it will get us to where we want to go.

Getting to location is one of the greatest challenges facing the 23 Degrees team. Many of the most exciting impacts of our journey around the Sun takes place in very remote locations and so far we have used jet planes, propeller small aircraft, helicopters, sailing yachts, zodiac motor launches, fishing boats, off-road vehicles, cars, skidoos, good old fashioned shank's pony - that's walking to you and me, and now dog sleds to get where we want to go.

While one team are planning to travel north to the ice-bound east coast of Greenland another are organising a trip down south to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Here they will face a completely different set of challenges. It won't be extreme cold and ice hunting but working with around sixty thousand Sun worshipers. What's brought them is the Spring Equinox at the Temple of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza. They've all come to witness the special moment when the Sun lights up a serpent sculpture carved into the side of the temple.

The Temple of Kukulkan is a true ancient wonder. It was built by the Mayans over a thousand years ago and was created to track the passage of the Sun. There are 365 steps to the top, one for each revolution the planet makes on its axis in a year. We just had to plan this into our production - it represents the true essence of our series.

Both these trips will be challenging in their own ways, but there's one factor that can make or break a shoot, a factor that we have no control of at all. And that's the weather. If it's cloudy on the Equinox there will be no lighted serpent, if we get torrential rain, the ceremony will be a damp squib. So even though we are making a series about the Earth's journey around the Sun, nothing is predictable and even with the greatest planning - if the weather misbehaves it can ruin a shoot.

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