27 November 2018 On The Ice!

A small step for man, a giant leap for Mike Penn

The airplane was dark inside and the light outside was so bright that I really couldn't see outside until I was out of the airplane. The cold air and the wind hit my face as I stepped down the metal stairs to the ice. I had to remember to think about not falling down the steps as I looked around. We were on a huge, flat expanse of ice that stretched for miles in every direction. The sun was bright and the white ice and snow made it even brighter. Sunglasses were a must.

Walking to the "bus" to ride to McMurdo Station.

Walking toward IvanThese USAP participants are walking from their C-17 toward "Ivan the Terra Bus" for transport to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Ivan the Terrabus!The iconic "Ivan The Terrabus" has been transporting USAP participants from the ice sheet airfield to McMurdo for decades.

The internet connection is not very good and the science comes first (before my need to post pictures)! My team and I have been busy getting our laboratory space organized in Crary Lab, going through all of our required pieces of training and briefings and generally jumping right into our project. There is no time to waste, the summer here is very short.

Fun Fact

The station is roughly 3,864 km (2,415 miles) south of Christchurch, New Zealand, and 1,360 km (850 miles) north of the South Pole.

Stay tuned, I have so much more to show and tell you about!

Comments

Gage
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the iconic

what type of bus is that

Ivan

Gage, Your question has been a popular one! I wrote a journal to answer this question check it out, it's the one with the picture of the "terra-bus" Thanks for reading my journals and taking the time to ask a question!

Drake
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Volcano

Are you scared of the volcano?

Karley Warvel
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The bus

What is that bus? is a military bus or something else?

Bus

Your question has been a popular one! I wrote a journal to answer this question check it out, it's the one with the picture of the "terra-bus" Thanks for reading my journals and taking the time to ask a question!

Faith
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bus

Hi, my name is Faith I was wondering, how many people can fit in the bus?

Bus

Your question has been a popular one! I wrote a journal to answer this question check it out, it's the one with the picture of the "terra-bus" Thanks for reading my journals and taking the time to ask a question!

Adrianna
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bus ride to McMurdo

Was it fun riding in the bus to McMurdo Station our were you kinda nervous

Austin
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The bus

How big is the bus?

Bus

Your question has been a popular one! I wrote a journal to answer this question check it out, it's the one with the picture of the "terra-bus" Thanks for reading my journals and taking the time to ask a question!

Dylan
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Antartica

Why is the bus elevated so high.

Bus

Your question has been a popular one! I wrote a journal to answer this question, check it out, it's the one with the picture of the "terra-bus" Thanks for reading my journals and taking the time to ask a question!

Camryn Whitby f...
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Question

What time do you have to wakeup and what do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Eating

Camryn, Because the sun doesn't ever go down (24 hours of daylight) McMurdo station runs 24 hours a day. There are people working, flying out to field camps, working in the laboratories and eating at all hours of the day and "night." There is a "Galley" in building 155 that has established times for Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the usual times, but it is always open and we can get a nice choice of food any time we want!

Camryn Whitby f...
Guest's picture
I am also in Kevin Dickerson

I am also in Kevin Dickerson's Biology class

Nephi nay
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food

Hey I'm from kevins class and I was wondering how you get water in antartica?

Water

Nephi, That is a great question! Since we are on an ice-covered continent we are literally standing on miles of ice that can be melted into water...the problem is, of course...getting it to melt! Here in McMurdo Station, the water is pumped in from the ocean (under the ice) and a process called "Reverse Osmosis" is used to separate the salt from the water to make it drinkable (drinking too much ocean water will kill you). At the South Pole (I'll be there next week) water is made from melted snow. It is absolutely pure and clean. I'm looking forward to that!

maison
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kevin's class

Why does the bus have six wheels instead of four?

Bus

Your question has been a popular one! I wrote a journal to answer this question check it out, it's the one with the picture of the "terra-bus" Thanks for reading my journals and taking the time to ask a question!

Tyler
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HI my name is Tyler from

HI my name is Tyler from Kevin dickersons class, i was wonering if when you guys walk on the ice, does it feel like solid ground or is it like walking on snow?

Ice consistency

Tyler, that is a good questions and something that I was curious about before I got here. I'm actually going to answer this question in today's journal. The snow/ice was solid enough to land our C-17 cargo plane on! Fully loaded, that plane can weight over 250 tons! Yesterday when I was working out on the Ross Ice Shelf I really got to dig a hole in the ice to find a battery box that was buried in snow. The snow was much more solid than I expected. It could be cut into blocks and removed whole. I now understand how it is possible to make an igloo! The snow/ice that I was working in was solid and it was too dry to make snowballs out of. Try to check back tomorrow and read the journal that I'll post today to see some pictures and hopefully you'll be able to see the snow and ice in a few pictures.

Anicia
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Kevin's class

Are you required to eat certain foods? What are some of the things you guys get to eat?

Food

Anicia, the food here is surprisingly good! As you probably know, your body needs more food to burn just to keep you warm when it is really cold. So, most of the food here is designed to provide more calories than a similar cafeteria back home. The biggest difference between here and there is that here there generally aren't any "freshies." Any fresh fruits and vegetables are rare and valuable around here. Also, all of the beverages are...reconstituted. The milk has been powdered, shipped here, then the powder was mixed with the correct amount of water and made into milk again...mostly. The beverages have been a challenge to get used to. I'll write more about this in a journal in the near future.

Landon
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Sunglasses

What type of sunglasses are those?

Sunglasses

Landon, my sunglasses are prescription (I wear glasses and contacts) from Nike. They are however, special for the snow. The have a special reflective surface to reflect most of the suns harmful rays and they are "polarized." Polarized glass reduces glare and blocks the harmful UV rays of the sun. It is common here for people to get sun blindness from the intense sunlight. It is basically getting a sunburn inside your eyes. So, everybody has and wears sunglasses or goggles when outside.

Matthew Cummings
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Research (and Ivan)

Hey Mike, this is Matthew Cummings. I am a student of Kevin. What is your main daily job? Also, is Ivan your only form of transportation?
Stay Warm,
-Matthew Cummings

Research

Our project is installing and maintaining Automatic Weather Stations all over the continent of Antarctica (there are 59 for our project and 120 in total) I'll have a lot more on this in a future journal. Basically, Antarctica is huge and we just don't know that much about it. Our weather stations are positioned in specific spots to give us weather information (Temperature, wind speed, humidity, air pressure, and snow depth) that can be used to formulate an accurate picture of what the weather is all over the continent. Ivan is NOT the only form of transportation. In fact, Ivan is only used to go from the "Williams Airfield" ice runway to McMurdo and back. There are LOTS of other really cool and interesting forms of transportation around here! I'll be writing more about that in a future journal, so check back!

william
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bus

Where was the nearest gas station for the bus?

Bus

William, McMurdo is like a small town and it has huge fuel tanks for all of the vehicles to refuel. There are people who're called "Fuelies" and they take care of fueling Ivan

Amy
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Bus ride

How long was the bus ride to the McMurdo Station?

Team Member

Mike Penn's picture

Journal Details

Location: Crary Lab
Coordinates:
Latitude: 77° 51' 0" N
Longitude: 166° 40' 0.12" E
Weather Summary: Cool and breezy
Temperature: 16˚F
Wind Chill: 6˚F
Wind Speed: 15 mph

Antarctic Automatic Weather Stations 2018 Journals

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