TIGER in Antarctica
November 10, 2001
Actually the continuation of November 9...
I'll finish up yesterday first. From the plane they take all of us to the National Science Foundation (NSF) headquarters at McMurdo, known as "The Chalet". We meet the local head honchos and get an orientation. We also get our room assignments and a list of the training courses that each of us will have to attend. The list is customized for each person, some of us are heading to the South Pole, some to remote sites all over continent, and some are just staying at McMurdo. Many of the people with me have been to Antarctica before, but there are others who are looking at everything with the wide-eyed look that I think I have. They make it clear that Antarctica is not your typical location. It's going to be at least a week before I've learned what I need to even be able to take a hike locally.
Photo on right: Eric Christian standing on iceshelf at Williams Field
Our luggage isn't off the plane yet, so the campaign manager from the National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF) takes four of us who are here for the balloon launch out to Williams (Willy) Field, where the balloon facility is. The ice runway that we landed on (which is much closer to McMurdo than Willy field) can only be used for another month or so before the ice becomes too weak to handle planes and they'll move operations out to Willy Field. The 8 mile trip out to Willy Field is tremendous. When I get a chance, I'll stop and take pictures and describe the scenery in more detail.
Photo on left: Big Barn at Williams Field
When I get there, I have someone take a picture of me standing with the vast expanse of the ice shelf and the mountains behind me. Even looking at the picture now, it's hard to believe I'm really here.
The TIGER instrument is set up inside a building called the Big Barn, with a tall ceiling and a hoist inside to pick up the instrument. I'll go into more detail on the instrument and working conditions later. In the picture at left, TIGER is inside the black box in the white frame at top center. The big black box behind it is a dark room that we pick up and place over the instrument.
Photo on right: Inside the Big Barn at Williams Field
Back into town to pick up my luggage and check out my dorm room. My roommate is Scott Hadley, one of the NSBF guys who travelled with me from LA. A quick supper at the cafeteria (more later), and then to bed. It's been a long day.
Dr. Eric R. Christian
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