Flat White and Leafy Green!
Today the weather is not suitable for flying. There is a 35 mile per hour wind and we have a condition called "Flat White". Everything looks the same flat white color and it is very hard to tell the difference between the sky and the ground and you can not see the horizon. It can be very disorienting!
Click the media tab (if the embedded link doesn't work) to see a short YouTube video of the "flat white" and a quick look at the South Pole Station hydroponic greenhouse!
There is a hydroponic greenhouse here in the station that is used to grow mostly leafy greens and herbs for use in the kitchen. It was nice to see plants for the first time in a month! It was 77 degrees and very humid in the greenhouse. There is a chair in there for people to go just so that they can be close to plants and breathe some humid air. It was really nice and I'll be going back in there!
These are the last of the questions that were unanswered at the PolarConnect event.
You said it was very cold there and in the videos we see on TNN you weren’t wearing a coat, you were wearing short sleeves. Why weren’t you wearing a coat?
It was relatively cold...about 15 ˚F. BUT, it was really sunny and there wasn't much wind. Since we were working hard digging that hole we were getting pretty warm. It is really important to avoid getting sweaty, so it is a constant process of putting on and taking off coats, hats, mittens, and gloves trying to stay dry and comfortable. Being wet from sweat can be a very bad thing when it is really cold.
If ice freezes on your face, can it melt or do you get frostbite? Justisha A. 6th grade
Justisha, Water on your face is a very bad thing here. That’s why is it such an advantage to have a beard and mustache, it keeps the water off of your skin. As cold as it is here, keeping water off of your face is a really good idea (and yes, it can definitely freeze), but if it is warm enough you might not get frostbite.
How do you eat meals without them freezing? Kaysia C. 6th grade
Kaysia, It hasn’t been a problem…so far. It really hasn’t been that cold out when I’ve had to eat outside. The coldest it has been when I’ve eaten outside is about -15˚F and while cold, isn’t cold enough to make the food freeze as I’m taking it to my mouth. Later this week, when I’m out near one of the coldest places on earth, it could be about -40˚F (without a windchill). Then eating will be a problem! One of the ways that we avoid the issue altogether is that when we DO eat outside we tend to eat dry foods like crackers and granola bars. Since they don’t have much moisture (water) they don’t solidify in the extreme cold temperatures.
What is your favorite thing you've seen/done so far? Haley M. 5th grade
That is a tough question, I’m not sure that I can narrow it down to just one. “Walking around the world” and stepping from today into yesterday and then from yesterday back into tomorrow at the Geographic South Pole was probably the coolest thing so far. I wrote a journal about that.
But there have been lots of other awesome things, like stepping foot on Antarctica for the first time, stepping foot at the South Pole, coming within 25 feet of a sleeping seal, being left by a helicopter 100 miles from anywhere, are all on the “most fun and exciting” list!
What have you been eating? Zach L. 5th grade
Zach, That depends on where we are. When we are in the station there is a cafeteria. Here at the South Pole, the food is excellent! There aren’t many choices, but what there is, is really good. The difference is that there is no fresh food. They call them “Freshies.” Everything has been previously frozen or is made from scratch. The chef is really good and everyone really looks forward to the next meal. It is a matter of morale when you are stuck in such a small, enclosed station so far from the rest of the world. The food is usually very rich and full of carbohydrates and calories so that people’s bodies have plenty of fuel to keep them warm in such a cold and harsh place.
What are your sleeping arrangements like? Dylan M. 5th Grade
Dylan, I was pleasantly surprised that here at the South Pole I have my own (all to myself) little room! Out in the field, if/when we have to stay for a while, we have tents and special sleeping bags. We expected to be in tents called “Jamesways” but the population is small enough now that there is room for everyone inside the station. I’m VERY happy about that!