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Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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TIGER in Antarctica, November 13, 2003

Back to Willy Field

Eric at Willy Field At 7:30 AM, all of the balloonatics (local slang for those of us working on any part of the balloon program) head out to Willy Field. Willy Field is one of the airstrips that McMurdo uses, but it won't be used until later in the season when the Ice Runway (where I landed) becomes too soft for landings and takeoffs. The Ice Runway is considerably closer to town, which makes it easier to use. Willy Field is about 7 miles away from McMurdo, but an interesting fact I learned this trip is that the field is moving towards McMurdo at about 1000 feet per year. That's several feet per DAY! That's one of the consequences of building out on the ice shelf. This is one of the reasons the road out here is constantly being worked on, especially the transition where the ice shelf meets Ross Island. Here I am, on the ice shelf out at Willy. That's White Island behind me. White Island is one of the standard weather markers here. It is south of Ross Island, and that's the direction most storms come from. If you are out hiking or working, and you lose sight of White Island, you've got roughly half an hour to find shelter.

Eric at Willy Field

The TIGER instrument inside the Weatherport Here is my first view of TIGER. The black plastic, which keeps out stray light, is pulled up on the left side. Below the center platform is the NSBF communications unit, called the SIP. In a few days, a hard foam thermal box will be built around TIGER, but it is almost ready to fly. The cylinder on the right is Anita. It is out on a bench being worked on, but normally it would sit under TIGER next to the SIP. The person on the left is Dana Braun, from Washington University, the Mechanical Technician for TIGER.

The TIGER instrument inside the Weatherport


Dr. Eric R. Christian
Washington, DC 20546 USA
This page was last modified on November 13, 2003