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Ice-bound research ship subject of documentary

”Journey to the End of the World” is the first hour in MSNBC’s new, four-part “Future Earth” series to air in 2009. The other three Future Earth programs will be broadcast later this year. In conjunction with NBC Universal’s Earth Week, MSNBC will premiere “Journey to the End of the World” on Sunday, April 26, at 10 p.m.

The documentary tells the story of a small band of scientists who trek to the North Pole in dead of winter. The trip was called the Tara Expedition. In 2006, the polar sailboat Tara let itself be caught in the ice packs of the Arctic Ocean in millions of square miles of ice, 100 miles off the magnetic north pole.

Their mission was to find out how fast the Arctic North Pole, the ground zero of global warming, is melting. The faster it melts, the more powerful the climate change it will cause and the sooner it all begins to happen. The scientists on the Tara must record in real time the critical data on sea ice thickness and air and water temperatures to help determine how and why the Arctic is melting and, more importantly, the effect it will have on the Earth.

To illustrate the chain reaction that will result from Arctic melting, the film uses state-of-the-art CGI (computer generated images) to show how rising sea levels will impact cities from New York to Shanghai, including fish-eye views of Grand Central Station and the Statue of Liberty.