Fragile Oasis

Connecting Space and Earth: Learn. Act. Make a Difference.

Latest Posts

The Grosvenor Mountains

This year's ANSMET search area for meteorites is in the Grosvenor (pronounced 'Grovnor') Mountains, a section in the Trans-Antarctic Mountain range. This mountain range goes from McMurdo Station near the coast and travels northwest into the interior (west of the geographic South Pole). At first I found the idea of an eastward and westward direction a bit confusing when every ...Keep Reading

Thanksgiving Late but not Late

Our team has found our way to Christchurch, New Zealand where we are making our preparations for deployment to the ice. The United States Antarctic Program is located at the Christchurch airport where scientists are issued their heavy Antarctic clothing, pack all their scientific gear, and load up on one of several military transport planes (either a C-17 or the ...Keep Reading

Leaving for New Zealand

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 ...Keep Reading

Chronicles on Ice

I am about to start a journey to Antarctica as NASA's participation in the ANSMET 2006-2007 expedition. The Antarctic Search for Meteorites or ANSMET is a yearly expedition to gather meteorites that naturally concentrate on the Antarctic glaciers. What I will be doing is posting writings called 'Chronicles on Ice' dealing with the aspects of exploration on Earth contrasted with ...Keep Reading

Splash Up + 1 Day

Our first full day back on the surface of the Earth was spent debriefing the mission, preparing for our return to Houston, conducting media interviews, and reflecting on the mission. We conducted science debriefs with the Center for Minimal Access Surgery and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and mission debriefs with the National Undersea Research Center. We also conducted ...Keep Reading

Splashup +1 day

More debriefs and interviews today, and then we were set free. Felt a little weird to be wrapping it all up after the time it took to finally get here. I would like to close my journal by thanking my fellow crew members. We had a great team, we still love each other, and I think it’s nice to be ...Keep Reading

Splash Up (Splash Down +17 Days/Mission Day 18)

Everyone was out of their bunks early today in order to ensure everything was ready for splashup. We finished our final packing while ensuring that the habitat was cleaned and configured for us to depart and leave Aquarius untended. At about 8:30 am, shortly after reaching sea level pressure we initiated blowdown. At this point most of the nitrogen that ...Keep Reading


Today at approximately 0845 we made our way to the surface, aka splashup. Tim was right -- bittersweet is a good word to use for how the quiet 2 minute swim to the surface felt. We moved away from Aquarius and the boat waiting above us seemed to appear too quickly, but at the same time seeing my family waiting ...Keep Reading

Splash Down + 16 Days

Today is our last full day on Aquarius. As the mission draws to a close I find myself contending with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am very much looking forward to reuniting with my family back in Houston but on the other hand, I am going to miss being a resident of Conch Reef. Dave, Tim, Nicole and ...Keep Reading

Splashdown +16 days

It was a little strange waking up this morning and knowing that tonight will be the last night we spend on board Aquarius. I'm really pleased with how quickly Aquarius became such a comfortable place to live and work. It gives me hope that someday if I'm privileged to spend an extended time on board the ISS, that it will ...Keep Reading