Fragile Oasis

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The Katabatic

The interior of Antarctic is cold. It is the coldest place on Earth if you discount regions in the upper atmosphere at 80 kilometer altitudes. The interior is at high altitude, varying from 8000 to 10000 feet. However, near the Antarctic coast, the temperatures are moderated by the ocean and although cold by human standards, are considerably warmer. This situation ...Keep Reading

Concentrated Meteorites

For some reason, meteorites are found lying on the top of Antarctic ice fields in amazing numbers, much more so than what one would find in other areas of the world. The reason for this is generally understood [ref 1], however, like so many human spawned ideas into how nature works, there are a number of details that seem to ...Keep Reading

First Meteorite

We search, once again, using our mechanized sledge-dog equivalents. Forming a classic search line at the base of a blue ice region, we slowly drive across with our snow mobiles, looking for any black spot. If you see a black spot, it is a rock. If you find a rock, there is a good chance it is a meteorite. There ...Keep Reading

The Flag of Exploration

There has been an Office of Exploration at NASA for well over 15 years. While the topic of exploration has waxed and waned over time, this office, well hidden from view in a room called 'The Swamp' has continued to crank out ways for human beings to venture off this planet and explore such places as the Moon and Mars. ...Keep Reading

Moving Camp

We broke camp this morning, loaded up our Nansen sledges, and formed a snow mobile convoy in the middle of Antarctica, with eight machines, occasionally blowing smoke in protest of the load. We drove from the Otway Massif to Mauger Nunatak, a section of blue ice glacier that has never been looked at before (for meteorites). The traverse was about ...Keep Reading


We deployed to the Grosvenor Mountain region in the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. The actual landing area is a natural stretch of ice and snow near the Otway Massif. Apparently there is a sufficiently long enough stretch of icy snow to land the rather largish C-130 cargo plane. We loaded up from McMurdo and departed from William Field, referred to by the ...Keep Reading

Ready to Deploy

Tomorrow, December 8th, we deploy to the ice fields in the Grosvenor Mountains via a C-130 military cargo plane. If you consider that we are living across the International Date Line, thus being one day ahead of the States, we will deploy about the same time as the first launch attempt for STS-116 to the International Space Station. I have ...Keep Reading

Training Camp

Before one is dropped off in the middle of this continent for six weeks of living in a Scott tent, it is wise to make certain your team knows how to deal with the necessities of camping. Thus, we went on a short training trip where we loaded up our snow mobiles, loaded up our sledges, and drove off from ...Keep Reading

McMurdo Station

McMurdo is part frontier town and part science lab. A delightful place that somehow attracts explorers, scientists, and misfits that need some form of temporary escape from the inherent organization of our civilized places back home. My first impression is something from a B-grade western set in some obscure mining town, where life centers around one main street paved with ...Keep Reading

Confusion in the Southern Hemisphere

People who grew up in the northern hemisphere often times find it a bit confusing when they first travel southward to New Zealand. Coupled with a healthy dose of jet lag from rolling off an airplane, this can lead to some trying moments at finding your hotel for a much needed horizontal sleep. First and foremost, they drive on the ...Keep Reading