Team mascot in ice cave.
    Beaker, our team mascot, freaking out in an ice cave on Lake Fryxell.

    Yay!!! I GOT MAIL! Mrs. Lively forwarded me notes and questions from students at Twelve Bridges Middle School. I miss you all and appreciate your well-wishes and curiosity. Here's a selection of Q & A (with more later), with some goofy photos, because I feel a little goofy right now:

    What made me want to do this?

    Mostly, I feel pretty committed to science education and helping people understand how science works. Another big reason: I love adventure! I LOVE the idea of getting a chance to visit a place that's so weird and wonderful and far away and... did I say weird?

    Lucy Coleman, smashing ice.
    Smashing ice on Lake Fryxell -- so fun.

    Why is it so cold?

    Good question. It has been as low as -27°F with the windchill. BRR!! And this is SPRING, and the sun hasn't set since I arrived! How did it get so cold? It's because of a few factors. There are winds that circulate AROUND the continent, over the Southern Ocean, and they form a sort of WALL that prevents the warmer air from the rest of the world from getting here. Additionally, the tilt of the planet means that even though the sun doesn't set, it also doesn't get very high in the sky to deliver a lot of thermal energy our way. Then in the winter, it's dark for months on end, and that cold persists even when the sun does rise.

    Scientist with jiffy drill.
    Kodi and Beaker with jiffy drill.

    Why didn't we have heaters?

    Well, we DID have heaters out in the field. In our larger buildings, we had big stoves that burned fuel and smaller ones that burned propane. Our tents did not have heaters because it would have been a fire hazard, or a carbon monoxide hazard. Either way, we'd be pretty dead.

    Resting after a lot of work.
    The boys, after a particularly challenging drill hole.

    Would I want to stay here longer/indefinitely?

    No. I've really enjoyed my time here and I've learned a lot. If I could go back out into the Dry Valleys, I would stay a bit longer, for sure! But otherwise, I feel ready to be home. I miss my regular life. My family, friends. My cat. My routines and work. I'm ready to head home!

    Scientists working on lake ice.
    Brandon supervising.

    I asked YOU what game we invented for fun. Here are some of my favorite guesses:

    • Connect 4, with ice
    • Drawing hand turkeys
    • The game where where you try not to break any tools (Daily)
    • We used our scientific stuff to play bowling
    • The sleeping game (BEST. GAME. EVER.)
    • Getting some traction against ever-present ice
    • When we had graphs for data, we'd bet on who would be right
    • A treasure hunt to find all of the gear and supplies needed for the expedition to Lake Bonney (yeah... we did play that game)

    The Real Answer: we made a mini cornhole game out of a cardboard box and some used hand-warmers.

    Scientists play mini cornhole.
    Rochelle with the mini cornhole game.
    Resting after a long day.
    Resting after a long day.

    McMurdo Station, Antarctica
    Weather Summary
    Partly cloudy, a little warmer-ish
    Wind Chill


    Janet Warburton

    Hi Lucy,
    Thanks to all the students asking great questions! I love reading the answers. Thanks to all your great followers.
    Hope the time in McMurdo is going well.

    Mateo Martinez

    Im aware there is a hole in the ozone above Antarctica, letting in solar radiation that may be harmful to you. Are there any precautions being done to prevent cancer? If not, do you have a doctor over there? Has anyone there ever developed cancer?

    Lucy Coleman


    The hole in the ozone is a problem, but for a few reasons, its not a huge problem here. First of all, no one stays here long enough and has enough sun exposure to cause skin cancer. Most of us are pretty bundled up most of the time. Skin cancer is way more of a problem in a place like Australia, where the ozone is thin right at the time of year when its summer and hot there and everyone is outside with less coverings on and way more sun exposure. In fact, I think its a requirement for children to wear big hats to school!

    August Bethke

    How many ice caves are there near you? Are they big, like, could you go inside one?

    Lucy Coleman


    There ARE ice caves around here, near some of the glaciers but I haven't had an opportunity to visit them, unfortunately. I've only seen photos.... Beaker here in this journal, is in what I called an ice cave, but its a Beaker-sized cave (he's maybe 6 inches tall). His cave was formed by all of the weird ice formations on the lake.

    Cooper Metheny

    cool dont come back

    Gabe Mendez

    Not nice Cooper😢

    cooper metheny

    I did not say this stop lying on my name omm.

    bug chungus

    dude what the heck

    James Taylor

    Hey A-hole, she's done a lot of valuable work and she doesn't want some prick Karen telling her she's useless.

    Gabe Mendez

    How have you been? Antarctica must be hard.

    Ashtyn V.

    Would you go to Antarctica again if you had the chance?

    Nigel M

    how was your trip?

    Elisabeth M

    Did you have fun in Antarctica?

    Maya Tillman

    I agree with Cooper.

    Gabe Mendez

    Can't believe you guys. 😐

    Dylan Amos

    Wow so rude Maya.

    big chungus

    exactly dylan anus

    DJ Catalano

    How often is there a sunset or sunrise?

    Alyssa I Period 2

    Super cool!

    Mason Aronsen …

    What has been your most favorite adventure in Antarctica?

    carson h

    whats the doll thing for?????????????????????????

    Olivia H

    Ur mascot is cute.👍

    Riley Conway

    What types of microbes have you found in Antarctica?


    what has been you're favorite part about you're trip?

    Lily Q

    The ice caves look like crystals

    Beckett E

    How many tools do you break daily?

    Lana I

    It seems like you had a lot of fun! What was the warmest it has gotten during the time you have stayed there?

    Sakura Scott

    The background is so pretty! Also do you miss the heat?

    Sophia M

    I understand why you want to come home! What are your parter's opinions about staying or leaving?

    Fox Winczner

    what is the coolest thing you've seen?


    what is the name of your mascot and he looks pretty cool.

    Brodie Bleichn…

    It's crazy how the sun never set the whole time you were there. How long do you think it's going to take for you to get used to sleeping in the dark?

    Beaudrick waage

    Nice mascot, do you bring it everywhere you go?


    Why is the winter dark for months on end?

    Ivaana Kaur

    I wonder what new stuff you have learned there?

    Nolan H. P.6

    how did those ice forms, that you were standing on form?

    Jasmine Le

    Is there anything you miss that you don't have in Antarctica?

    Sahej N

    What has been your favorite part of the trip?

    Amrit C Per 6

    Is the temperature inside colder or warmer than the outside?

    Amrit C Per 6

    Inside the ice cave

    Rachel K

    How about the wind down game!

    James Taylor

    how do you get electricity is it stored in batteries?