The internet is really slow here so I won't be blogging as often as I did from McMurdo last winter. It also takes a few hours to upload a dozen pictures - a very tedious process.
|In front of the GOES and Skynet radome.|
|My group will be towing this Skynet antenna out beyond the "Dark Sector", which has several research telescopes, to check for RF interference.|
|Twin Otter aircraft used by the USAP.|
|A small but nice library.|
|Antarctic archives - a great selection of books about Antarctic exploration.|
|A warm and cozy place to relax, read and nap.|
|A Skynet power supply failed on Sunday. So we replaced it.|
|The UPS power supply weighed over 100 pounds so we drove it out in one of my favorite vehicles of last winter in McMurdo - a Pisten Bully.|
|On the way back from the radome there was a memorial being held for the three Canadians that were onboard the Twin Otter. A Canadian flag was planted at the Pole.|
http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/livingsouthpole/station_new.jsp —by Peter West
To meet the challenge of drifting snow, the new station is designed with the profile of a sleek airplane wing. It is elevated and faces into the prevailing near-constant 10 to 15 mph wind, which flows above and below the station. The fast-moving winds beneath the station effectively help scour the area of snow, thereby greatly reducing the need for manual excavation. However, because some snow buildup is inevitable, the building also sits on 36 uniquely designed hydraulic jack columns that allow the 65,000-square-foot structure to be raised in 25-centimeter (10-inch) increments, thereby effectively adding decades to its building life.
Another problem involves the 'ground' supporting the structure. Actually, it sits on a glacier almost two miles deep that slides 33 feet toward the sea each year. And because different parts of glaciers move at different speeds, buildings are in constant danger of being ripped apart. So the connecting walkways between building modules are designed to be flexible. To ease fuel consumption, the structure is insulated to five times the value of the average U.S. residence.
Finally, builders faced the challenge of getting nearly 40,000 tons of construction materials to a site that has no roads, railroads or other type of access infrastructure. The facility was designed so that all parts could be shipped in the cargo bay of ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft.
The result is a city in miniature—when even includes a NASA plant-growth chamber to help augment supplies of fresh food. The W-shaped structure will accommodate NSF's Antarctic research program at the Pole, which includes 150 people during the three-month austral summer and 50 people during the remaining nine months.
|First floor of Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. I live in Wing A1 housing to the right. My work station is in Wing B3.|
|2nd Floor. The two long passegeways (levels 1&2) are about 500 feet long while the wings are 150 feet.|
|An aerial view of the station.|
|This view shows "summer camp" housing in the top left. It doesn't look too inviting.|
|This is the conversation I had with my wife. I wondered how I got here!|