(From Matt Carluccio, TODAY producer)
There have been a lot of firsts for me in the last few days. Case in point, as I write I'm standing at the Christchurch, New Zealand airport under the massive wing of a U.S. Air Force C-17 as our crew films a 4-ton pallet of equipment being loaded on board.
But the biggest first is still about 5 hours away, weather permitting; touching down on Antarctica, or, as it's called by the locals, The Ice.
We have six NBC team members in our group and I'm pretty sure none of us know what to expect. Sure, we read the guide book, did our own research and found plenty of awe inspiring images on the internet, but can any of that really begin to capture the feeling we'll experience as we step off the plane onto a barren, icy desert sitting at the bottom of the earth; a place so remote that we - normally a rather resourceful bunch - need the full support of the National Science Foundation and the US Air Force just in order to get there.
Well, the planes are loaded and the 115 scientists, support staff and crew are in their seats. The engines are cranking up and the door is closing. A true once-in- a-lifetime first awaits.
Learn more about TODAY's Ends of the Earth event.
To ask Ann Curry and the TODAY team traveling to Antarctica a question, click here.