Meet The Man Who Will Live Inside A Hamster Ball Floating On An Iceberg For A Year

Alex Bellini will soon embark on the journey of his life. He’s commissioned an aeronautical engineering company to build him a survival capsule, basically an adult-sized ‘hamster ball’, and he will live inside this biodome for an entire year as he floats atop an iceberg from Greenland out into the Northern Atlantic. The journey will only come to an end when the iceberg Bellini is traveling on breaks up and sinks, and Alex is able to experience the sensation of ‘complete lack of control’. That, or when he’s eaten by polar bears or killer whales.

As outlandish as this expedition sounds, after reading through an ‘Outside Online‘ interview with Alex Bellini I must admit that I’m pretty jealous that he has time to go sit in a hamster ball on an iceberg just to see what happens. After reading through his interview, and what brought him to this stage in life, I’m envious that I can’t just drop everything to embark on an expedition into the Atlantic. When I first came across this story I expected to read about the ideas of a mad man, but everything Alex Bellini is attempting to do is actually extremely fascinating.

Here are some excerpts from Bellini’s interview with ‘Outside Online‘:

“All adventure is based on hypothesis, which can be very different to reality,” says Bellini. “An adventurer must adapt himself to the environment he faces.”

Bellini’s newest adventure highlights and relishes that lack of control. Sometime next winter, he plans to travel to Greenland’s west coast, pick an iceberg, and live on it for a year as it melts out in the Atlantic.

His task: experience the uncontrollable nature of an iceberg at sea without getting himself killed. The solution: an indestructible survival capsule built by an aeronautics company that specializes in tsunami-proof escape pods.

“This adventure is about waiting for something to happen,” says Bellini. “But I knew since the beginning I needed to minimize the risk. An iceberg can flip over, and those events can be catastrophic.” Icebergs tend to get top-heavy as they melt from their submerged bottoms, so flips can be immediate and unpredictable. And, of course, so is the weather.

Only a man who has his life in order to the point that he can spend years on end embarking on expeditions could come to the clarity of “This adventure is about waiting for something to happen,”. While he’s speaking about this expedition in particular, the same could be said for just about every great adventure in history.

If you’ve ever paid for a fishing charter even you’ve experienced this on some level. You pay this huge some of money without any guarantee that anything will happen. The expectation is that once you get out on the water you’ll be catching trophy fish left and right, but that’s rarely the case. More often than not it’s ‘hurry up and wait’, which is precisely the mission of Alex Bellini’s upcoming adventure.

As for the contraption that Mr. Bellini will live in during his year on an iceberg, much thought and countless hours of searching went into finding the perfect model for his adventure. On his website, Alex lists a summary of features that will be included in his tsunami-proof survival capsule built by aeronautical engineer Julian Sharpe, the creator/founder of ‘Survival Capsule‘.

Features listed include:

2 doors, 4 windows, 4 hoisting and tether points, 8 vents, perforated aluminium floor, below floor storage locations.


Outside diameter : 2.43 m (8 feet), Wall thinkness (6,3 mm) (1/4 inch), Mass (shell) 570 kg (1256 lbs), Material shell Aluminium AG 5052-H32, Volume 7,5 m3 (256ft3)

From Outside Online’s interview:

The product appeals to Bellini because it’s strong enough to survive a storm at sea or getting crushed between two icebergs. It will rest on top of the ice using either its own weight or a specially designed stand that will detach if the berg rolls. The circular shape is crucial for avoiding a crushing blow. The capsule will just roll off any incoming mass, and the water will provide an equal and opposite reaction to any force exerted on the capsule. “A multicurved surface is almost uncrushable,” Sharpe said. “If you imagine shooting an arrow at a wooden ball, unless you hit dead center, it’ll ricochet.”

Quite possibly every single thing about this expedition appeals to me, aside from the fact that I’d have to live in a hamster ball for up to a year. The thought of being so constricted while simultaneously being the most free you’ve ever been seems like the most unsettling sensation imaginable.

For details on ‘Adrift 2015’ I HIGHLY SUGGEST you check out the full interview on Outside Online HERE. You can also keep up with Alex Bellini’s historic expedition by following him on Facebook, and checking his website for regular updates! (You can also help fund his expedition on his website).