Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Changes during our absence

When you leave for the summer, there are always lots of striking changes when you return "home" in the fall.

The new Elevated Station was officially dedicated on January 12, 2008 and the panel crew worked hard to finish up the gray siding on the front of the station in time for the ceremony. The ceremonial flags that normally fly not too far from the geographic pole were moved to be centered more in front of the station. It makes for a prettier picture.
Because the ice sheet that we sit on is steadily moving about 30 feet a year, the geographic pole is moved on New Years Day to the actual spot that marks 90 degrees south latitude. It is now no longer right in front of the station but marching off towards the Clean Air Sector.

Here's the entire front of the station, although the photos turned out a little dark as it was overcast yesterday after work when I went out for a stroll. I'll try to take more pictures on a better day for later.

This is the main entrance to the station, what we call Destination Alpha (to distinguish it from the other entrance that most people use, Destination Zulu where the trash line sits). It's the closest entrance to the station from the flight deck for the newly arriving passengers stumbling off of the plane gasping for air. The top deck is an observation deck that is great for watching auroras during the winter.
The American flag no longer flies on top of the Dome. Its new home is at Alpha next to the flag for the National Science Foundation. It's hard to tell in this photo but the flag pole for the US flag has a compass cross that points north in all four directions. The NSF flag has a continent of Antarctica.

The paneling now wraps around to the backside of the station and this summer they finished the far wing which holds the gym and then got as far as the B1 wing. This is the berthing wing where I live and my windows are the bottom left two (I have a double room again this year). The B1 wing also houses the emergency power plant and the tank at the very bottom left corner is the emergency fuel tank.
This is the backside of the A2 wing next to the beer can and they'll have to finish the siding here next summer. We've moved the smoking lounge, the 2.0 bar, right next to the beer can. Last winter it was next to Destination Alpha but resulted in lots of snow drifting so this location was chosen in hopes that the drifts won't build up too much. The smokers get only a little temporary building because all of the USAP stations are to go smoke-free by 2010. It's small but the guys make the most of it and have plans to paint the interior this year.
More photos to come...


At 1:53 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

Wow, it looks sorta different! Sort of official looking, or something. I wish we had an obervation room when I was there! Is that pretty cool?

Happy winter to you!

At 4:14 AM, Blogger AaroN said...

Thanks for the pics! I'm always facinated by the pics of the station at the pole. Is the exterior siding (brown) actually wood or just another material that's brown?

Loved the comment about smokers. Even the South Pole has a smoking aquarium. :D

At 5:20 AM, Blogger Neal said...

Glad to see the guys have a place to play poker. You'll have to keep the non-smoker poker tradition alive.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Cindy said...

Are those couches outside the smoking building? For some reason, seeing them there cracked me up.


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