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Leaving for New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand taken from the International Space Station during Expedition 6 (north is to the left).

South Island, New Zealand taken from the International Space Station during Expedition 6 (north is to the left).

All the USA operations in Antarctica stage from Christchurch New Zealand, a delightful place in a country filled with equally delightful people. Christchurch geographically happens to be located about as near to the main USA Antarctic base, McMurdo Station, as one can get even though it is still an 8 hour flight from Christchurch to McMurdo.

Our team leaves for New Zealand this morning, flying from Houston, Texas to Christchurch via Dallas, Los Angeles, and Auckland. Elapsed time will be about 21 hours however, we cross the International Date line so we actually arrive in Christchurch a day ahead. So we leave on a Monday and arrive on a Wednesday having had Tuesday somehow evaporated, perhaps into the ether. The last time I flew to New Zealand, I left the day before my birthday and arrived the day after, thus conveniently skipping the celebrations. Fortunately, I am at the age where this does not pose a problem.