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Mike Penn's picture

Being at the South Pole Station is like being on a ship...on another planet.

Here is a video (Click the 'Media' tab) of a glimpse of life inside the South Pole Station.

This short video shows the bulldozer (just outside of my bedroom window) that woke me up at 3 AM last night. They run almost constantly in order to keep the station from being buried by snow drifts. I also take a very quick walk through the Galley of the station. The Galley is where we eat and seems to be the warmest place in the station. On Sunday we all helped decorate it for the Holidays! There will be more to come about the inside of the station in a later journal. I want to leave you with one last thought that I discovered today.

FYI Lip balm can freeze solid.

frozen lip balmFYI, Lip balm can freeze solid.

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Haydon's picture

Haydon said:

is there something so can yous for your lips besides that.
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Haydon, I have this kind of lip balm and I have vaseline, but I prefer this because it also has sunscreen in it. It IS possible to get sunburn on your lips! I just need to do a better job of keeping it in an inside pocket so it keeps warm. I put it in an outside pocket thinking it would be more accessible...it was more accessible, but it was also frozen!
Brandon Ide's picture

Brandon Ide said:

ever since the snow in the Antarctic is so cold, can it turn into ice and slightly damage the stations? or is the stations made for snow?
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Brandon, This building is made for the extreme conditions here at the south pole. The walls are about two feet thick with insulation. I know that last July the temperature was more than -100˚F! The building is on stilts so that it can be raised so that it doesn't get buried in snow.
Isabella's picture

Isabella said:

is there certain types of water bottles, lip balm for that weather?
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Isabella, Most people here have just normal Nalgene bottles that they just keep warm enough to not freeze. There isn't any special lip balm except this kind has sunscreen in it too. You CAN get sunburned lips!
Karley Warvel 's picture

Karley Warvel said:

Did your other partners lip balms freeze if they do have them and how did yours freeze
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Karley, Is there a "One and only lip balm?" I just need to do a better job of keeping it in an inside pocket so it keeps warm. I put it in an outside pocket thinking it would be more accessible...it was more accessible, but it was also frozen!
Chloe's picture

Chloe said:

Hi i´m a student from Dansville Middle school and I was wondering is there a certain type of lip protection that you have to wear in cold weather?
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Chloe, We weren't given any guidelines on what kind to buy but I like this kind because it has sunscreen in it. Because you CAN get sunburn on your lips!
Austin's picture

Austin said:

How do you keep your lips from getting chapped?
Zenon's picture

Zenon said:

Does your cool mustache keep your lips not chapped?
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Zenon! Yes, my awesome mustache ABSOLUTELY helps keep my upper lip dry and that helps keep my lips from getting chapped!
Grace H.'s picture

Grace H. said:

Hi, I'm a student from S.A.E.S and I was wondering if there are insects in Antartica, or if they would just freeze it you brought an insect.
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Grace, There are no insects that are indigenous to Antarctica. I haven't seen a single insect or spider on the continent. I kinda miss stink bugs not that I haven't seen one in a month! I've heard stories of insects that came down in fresh vegetables like lettuce, but I can't imagine that they'd live long down here.
Sharon McRae's picture

Sharon McRae said:

Hi Mr. Penn! Enjoying your journal! My friend is there too, part of the team bringing samples up from Subglacial Lake Mercer. Dr. Brent Christner.I always imagined McMurdo was like the cantina in Mos Eisley in the original Star Wars. Cant wait to hear about your adventures! Thank you!
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Sharon, What a coincidence! I'll look around and see if I can find him. Is he from Pittsburgh? Yep, McMurdo is a little like Mos Eisley only with just humans!
Mariah's picture

Mariah said:

Hi i am a student at Dansville Middle School and my name is Mariah my question is that is in the station warm or do you still have to wear your gear and how many feet of snow is usually there since there is a lot of snow does your feet slip into it
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Mariah, The station was warm, but probably not as warm as your house is. Everyone dressed in warm clothes, but we didn't have to wear all of our extreme cold weather gear inside the station. Although, it was common to see people in the galley (where we ate) wearing their snow overalls and hats. There was a LOT of snow...9300 feet of it! Generally, it was packed by the wind so we could easily walk on it, but occasionally there would be drifts that was softer and a bit more challenging to trudge through.
Parker woodard's picture

Parker woodard said:

How cold is it and I love eevees
Mike Penn's picture

Mike Penn replied:

Do you mean how cold was it inside the South Pole Station or how cold is it outside of the station? In the answer just above your question, I give an explanation of the temperatures in the station (the galley was the warmest) and you can look at the following link for the temperatures (and other conditions) at the South Pole, McMurdo Station, and Palmer Station. https://www.usap.gov/videoclipsandmaps/spWebCam.cfm