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Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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TIGER in Antarctica, November 19, 2003

Cape Evans

Yesterday afternoon (the 18th), I took the Snowcraft refresher course, but it wasn't photogenic. Not nearly as much fun as "Happy Camper School", the full Snowcraft I course I took two years ago. We watched a long repetitive helicopter safety movie, practiced setting up tents (indoors) and setting up the stoves that are in all the survival bags (also indoors). We went over the major cold related injuries (Hypothermia, Frostbite, Snow Blindness, and Sunburn) and how to prevent and treat them. Then we went outside and set up one of the HF radios that can reach the entire continent.

In the evening, they're showing the movie "Winged Migration" in the Coffee House. One of the scientists who trained some of the birds (she trained the Snow Geese) introduced the movie and told us some of the secrets. In the Grand Canyon, they had to push the Canadian Geese off the cliff to actually make them fly in the canyon. And there is a European segment where a red-fronted goose gets stuck in "oil" at an industrial site, and the rest of the flock flies off without him. In actuality, it was a puddle of melted chocolate, so they could easily clean the goose off.

Seal and Pup Today, the 19th, we're getting the instrument ready to do some telemetry tests. After a fair amount of hassle that turns out to be due to a bad cable, we get it up and working fine. Bob Binns (the TIGER Principal Investigator from Washington University in St. Louis) and Paul Dowkonnt (Wash. U. Electrical Engineer) were supposed to arrive today on one of the LC-130s. 3 hours and 45 minutes into the flight, Paul comments to Bob "We're past the point of no return. There's no turning back now." Two minutes later, the plane goes into a hard bank. It's called a boomerang flight. More than seven uncomfortable hourse and they end up back in Christchurch. They'll have to try tomorrow (and Paul will have to keep his mouth shut).

A Weddell Seal Mother and Pup

Seal and Pup In the evening, I take one of the Deltas (see vehicles page) to Cape Evans (they run these trips a few times a week). Cape Evans is the location of the other Scott's Hut (the one from his trip to the pole in 1912-1913). When we get there, there is a mother Weddell Seal and her pup right on the ice. We can't get too close, but I still get some photos. I have my 35 mm camera with me as well, and it has a 300 mm lens, so I should have some really good close ups when I get these developed back in the states.

Seal Mother and Pup

Rocks and Glacier

The scenery is really stark but beautiful here. Mount Erebus is shrouded in clouds, but here is a picture of the volcanic rocks with the Barne Glacier in the distance.
Volcanic Rocks from Mt. Erebus with Barne Glacier behind


Dr. Eric R. Christian
Washington, DC 20546 USA
This page was last modified on November 20, 2003