The crews of the Kenn Borek Basler and Twin Otter were nice enough to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables in Chile. It was great to shock the system with some vitamins after eight months. We had grilled pineapple for dinner, with tomato and avocado salad and fresh oranges and apples for desert, washed down by a Gin tonic with fresh lime.
Following yesterday’s post, here is part two of our aerial photography mission.
This set of images takes a closer look at the Dark Sector, where all the telescopes are located. There is SPT, which just had its first successful season, BICEP, which will go into its third and last season, and QUAD, which will finish its last season in a few weeks. The AST/RO telescope was decommissioned at the end of 2005, but the building is still around. The ground shield of the decommissioned VIPER telescope can also be seen. Since all of the IceCube detectors are in the ice, the only things that can be seen is the building housing the readout electronics (ICL) and some of the drillcamp buildings, already positioned for the upcoming season.
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 :-)
What do you do in such a case? The Twin Otter pilots helped out in the galley and the rest of the Station just has a little extra time for opening preparations. On my way back from work I ran into Sven and Claire, who were fixing some of the ski way flags.
Yesterday, at 3:20pm, almost eight months after the last airplane left, the Kenn Borek operated Basler touched down at the South Pole, followed two hours later by a Twin Otter. They made the long trip from Canada, all the way down the Americas to Punta Arenas, at the Southern Tip of Chile. From there on to Rothera Station, on the Antarctic peninsula, before continuing to the South Pole.
The Twin Otter stayed over night, but the Basler was on the ground only long enough to refuel and to give us some fruit and vegetables the crew brought from Punta Arenas. These Canadians are always so nice.