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Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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TIGER in Antarctica, December 1, 2003


Anita in the TIGER gondola In the morning, Anita has passed its leak test and so is put in its flight location, beneath the TIGER experiment. This requires hoisting TIGER in the air, placing Anita on the ground and lowering TIGER back on top of it. Then it gets bolted in. Another major step towards declaring "flight ready".

Anita in its proper place

Condition 2 at Willy Field During our daily 11 AM meeting, Bob the weatherman says that the weather should be getting worse this evening and we should maybe plan on going home a little earlier. By the time the meeting is over at 11:30, we're all thinking "It looks awfully windy outside". Yes, we're in Condition 2. The three weather conditions are:

Condition 3: Normal weather
Condition 2: One or more of: wind speeds 48-55 knots, wind chill of -75 to -100, or visibility < 1/4 mile
Condition 1: One or more of: wind speeds > 55 knots, wind chill < -100, or visibility < 100 feet

Condition 2 at Willy Field

Team photo in Condition 2 Walking from the Galley back to the Weatherport after lunch, the TIGER and Anita teams pose for a picture in the snow. I'm the last person standing on the right, if you have trouble distinguishing between red jackets.

David Sullivan is trying to arrange transport back to McMurdo for the 40 of us out here at Willy Field when the word comes down that Willy Field has been declared "Condition 1". That means no travel. We're trapped out here at Willey and we're going to have to spend the night here. We've got just barely enough sleeping bags, even though a lot of them seem to be Korean War vintage military issue bags. The Galley, at least, is well stocked, so we won't go hungry.
TIGER and Anita teams in Condition 2

Eric and Snowdrift When I was here in 2001, we had a storm, but we were all in town. This is a real Antarctic experience. Moving between buildings is a real chore due to large and unpredictable snowdrifts and you learn very quickly to bundle up tight. If your big red jacket is not zipped up to your nose, when you face into the wind your whole hood and jacket will expand like a sail and start to fill up with snow. The outhouse near the weatherport quickly becomes unavailable. It's uphill and the drifts get very deep quickly. In this picture, you can see the size of the drift right outside the Weatherport.

I also took a couple of movies of the storm. The .mov files are smaller but need quicktime to run. If you can't view them, try the .avi files:

Eric standing next to large snowdrift


Dr. Eric R. Christian
Washington, DC 20546 USA
This page was last modified on December 2, 2003