Archive for April, 2008

Antarctic Youth Ambassador

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

The Sir Peter Blake Trust, in partnership with Antarctica New Zealand, is running the 2nd year of the Antarctic Youth Ambassador program. One lucky young Kiwi will have a chance to travel to Antarctica and get involved with environmental issues. Applications are being sought right now.

Jay Piggott, the inaugural Antarctic Youth Ambassador, kept an active blog during his time on the Ice last year.

Living in the Shadow of the Moon-Dog

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I have been in touch with some friends from the 2001 winter to raise some money for Trapper’s Autism Assistance assistance dog.  Through them I became aware that Paul Daniels’ South Pole movie is out. I did know about it (I gave him a release last year), but I had not actually seen it.

Paul has a web presence on MySpace. Just be aware that, at least in my browser, the page looks very messed up to the point of being unreadable.

For your viewing pleasure I included a short clip from the movie “Living in the Shadow of the Moon-Dog” after the jump. (more…)

Polestock 2008

Monday, April 28th, 2008

It is the last weekend of the month and once again time for a “long” weekend. Most people in the real world would call it a normal weekend but folks down here normally don’t get Saturdays off.

Yesterday Polestock 2008 came to town. We are fortunate enough to have many gifted musicians with us this year and a number of bands have formed and been busy practicing for the event. A stage was built in the gym, lights were setup, a bar was dragged in, and a lounge area was setup. For some reason the event started already at 5pm, quite early for my night schedule. I couldn’t have a drink because I still had to go to work. Everyone around me seemed to be well lubricated, though. The bands were all good and definitely could be enjoyed sober.

Sunday, on the other hand, was pretty quiet. Many people were probably nursing a bit of a hangover. There is an advantage to not being able to drink :-)

Below are some pictures I took of the event:


South Pole Adventurers in the Off Season

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Some of the adventurers we have seen here at the South Pole have made headlines recently up North.

The Indian Navy team, holding the award for “Funniest Ever Expedition Talk at the South Pole”, made it to the North Pole. Congratulations! Three on the team have now finished their Three-Pole challenge, going to the top of Everest, the South Pole, and the North Pole. The talk they gave after arriving at the South Pole in December 2006 was a tough assignment. They followed the British military team’s talk, who had skied in all the way and arrived shortly before the Indian team, which had “only” skied 125 miles (the “last-two-degrees”). Jaded Polies can be a tough crowd. However, they pulled it off by concentrating on the motivational aspect for the Indian public and making frequent references to just following the smell of the British. We also learned that Air India “is funny airline. It never just flies from A to B, they always most go via C and have a stop at D”. It was all in good humor and everyone had a got time.

Hannah McKeand, record holder for the fastest trip to the South Pole in 39 days and a bit, was not so lucky in the Arctic. She had to be airlifted after she fell into a eight feet deep snow hole at N 83 41.615 W 074 38.168. She wrenched her left leg, hurt her lower back and left shoulder. Get better soon Hannah!

Motorcycles in Antarctica

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Denis Quinlan from velocette.org.au has a look at the historic use of motorcycles in Antarctica. My favorite bit of the article is a 1968 picture of Frank Scaysbrook on his MAC 350cc with an Adelie penguin on his lap and a Husky looking at him, none of which would be possible today.

Check out the post on The Vintagent

Yuri’s Night at the South Pole

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

April 12, Yuri's Night

Today, April 12, we celebrated Yuri’s Night at the South Pole. It is an international celebration held on April 12 every year to commemorate the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, and the first Space Shuttle launch on April 12, 1981.

The goal of Yuri’s Night is to increase public interest in space exploration and to inspire a new generation of explorers, while having some fun at the same time. Last year 20,000 people directly participated in Yuri’s Night. 190 parties, in 50 countries, on 7 continents are planned for this year. Together with New Zealand we kicked off the celebration at the South Pole.

Yuri's Night at the South Pole


Getting Darker

Friday, April 11th, 2008

The sun continues its downward spiral below the horizon and it gets a little bit darker every day. For the last week we were blessed with good weather, which was great for CMB observations and taking pictures. Clear skies come with cold temperatures and it got pretty chilly on this week’s cryogenics runs.

Old and New


SPASE Station

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

On my way home from BICEP to the Station I noticed a really cool light behind the abandoned SPASE-II shack. I used to take care of the South Pole Air Shower Experiment when it was still operating. The shack now looks lost in that big wide open.

SPASE Station: The abandoned SPASE-II shack

[tags]Antarctica, South Pole, sunset, SPASE[/tags]