The NSF schedules aerial photography missions at the beginning and end of the Summer season. The pictures are a valuable planning tool and make for a great historical record. This time it was my turn to go up. A great belated birthday present. I have dabbled in kite aerial photography before, but this seems to be a much simpler approach :-)
The foreign legion, consisting of the Canadian Kenn Borek crew and a first class team of German and Swedish photographers, handled the morning mission. After wrestling a snowmobile and deep penetrating radar gear out of the Twin Otter we took off from the skiway on a beautiful sunny day. It seems like a crazy idea to circle above the South Pole for two hours, sitting next to an open window at -50°C, but it was great fun.
The first image gallery shows a wide area view of the South Pole complex. It is amazing how tiny and lost the Station looks from the air. There is just nothing around it as far as the eye can see. On the ground it seems like a big industrial complex. To give you a sense of scale: my daily commute from the Station (East of the skiway) to the BICEP telescope (West of the skiway), which is slightly less than a mile, takes me about twenty minutes.
The next set of pictures takes a closer look at some of the structures of the station complex East of the skiway. Most of you are probably aware of the New Station and the Dome but I doubt you have any idea of how much stuff gets stored on the berms. It is mind boggling. I have seen things going as far back as IGY in 1957. When I walk along the berms I am always reminded of the last scene in “Raiders of the Lost Arc”. Just rows and rows of boxes. You put stuff there never to be seen again. Well, maybe not quite as bad but Murphy’s law certainly applies.
OK, that’s it for today. I’ll post some more aerial pictures tomorrow.