Friday, September 07, 2007


For the past few summers, National Geographic has been sending down a camera crew to film the ongoing construction of the Elevated Station down here at the South Pole. They've finally completely the documentary and it will air tonight (Sep 6) in the states at 9pm ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel. Click here for a preview on their website.

And now for some updates...

Remember the egg oiling party we had in early April? Well, they held their freshness but unfortunately we didn't have nearly enough for the winter, especially for the number of folks here who must have their 2 eggs over easy every morning, and we ran out of fresh eggs in July.

The Race to McMurdo is still going strong. Johan reached the goal before midwinter and is on his way back to Pole, or continuing on to Christchurch, as he would like to think of it. I finished the 840 miles to McMurdo on July 14 and am continuing on myself. I'm now at 1210 miles logged running on the treadmill and elliptical thus far since February.

On September 3 we were allowed to removed the window coverings from the station as the light sensitive experiments came to an end with the lightening of the skies. Our Galley Gallery is no longer up but soon we'll have the polar vista views to enjoy. Right now it's still too dark out to see anything other than your reflection from inside a normally lit room.

We never did reach -100 degrees F long enough for people to run around naked outside for their 300 club membership. The chances for that happening are slipping away, although we were at -98.1 yesterday but now it's warmed up to -92.9F. When the temps outside plunge, sometimes we have a hard time regulating the heat inside the station. This is what one of my window sills looks like:

This is the window right next to my bed (I have 2 windows since I have a double of the benefits of racking up ice-time). It gets a little frost build-up but then again, who was the genius who decided to put metal window sills in an Antarctic station anyway?

We are scheduled to see our first plane, a Basler, on Oct 17. The plan is to use this smaller plane to fly in groups of 18 people for 6 flights in an effort to get people in here sooner without having to worry as much about the cold temp limits that the LC-130s have. Those planes will start flying in here Oct 29 bringing in the masses of summer workers and scientists. After last year's agonizing delayed opening where we were stuck for 10 days before it warmed up enough for the LC-130s, this is probably a smarter plan but you can never depend on the weather to do what you want. It wouldn't surprise me if we hit -100F again right about when we're hoping that our rides out of here will arrive.


At 3:20 PM, Blogger Scott said...


Thanks to you and Neal for the tip on the National Geographic program - I really enjoyed it.


At 3:25 PM, Blogger skua76 said...

The NG special was excellent. There was a bit of artistic license in compressing several years of construction photos into one season (steel erection on B3 which happened in 2003-04, ending up with the occupancy decision at the end of 2005-06) but I think the coverage was great, especially as a contractor to the "design team." Lots of familiar names and faces. There will be a DVD...

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Jeff Lutz said...

Don't worry about the 300 club. During 94-95, we didn't see -100 until about a week before sunrise. The landscape was a well lit twilight which meteorologically, is the time when the coolest temperatures occur. Your temperatures are hovering around it now, it won't be long.

Jeff Lutz

At 5:46 AM, Anonymous WaterDon said...

Tell everyone who "ran to McMurdo" to bring back eggs.
I hope you get your -100F.


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