Santiago Talks

    After such wonderful field work airborne over Antarctica with the team, I had loads to share with students and teachers, and fortunately I had several talks set up. After saying "ciao" to the windy Straits of Magellan and Punta Arenas, I headed to the hot, smoggy, bustling and stylish city of Santiago. I enjoyed the narrow streets, outdoor music and beautiful buildings of this very busy city (my taxi driver told me there are 8 million people in the surrounding area!) and prepared for my presentations.

    Punta Arenas View
    The beautiful town of Punta Arenas along the windy Straits of Magellan.
    Santiago Building
    The tall narrow housing in downtown Santiago has a distinctly European feeling.
    Lastarria District
    The Lastarria District in Santiago has wonderful small restaurants along narrow, winding streets.
    I was fortunate to present about Operation IceBridge at the University of Talca and at Nido de Aguilas International School. Here, I found focused, invested students who were interested in the mission, the findings, and the future of ice on Antarctica. Many wonderful questions and conversations surrounded my presentations, allowing me to make new friends and contacts and share all I had learned.
    University de Talca
    A wonderful group of students at University of Talca graciously welcomed me to talk with them about OIB.
    Nido Talk
    Nido de Aguilas International School offered a well prepared K-12 school where I was fortunate to give many talks throughout the day.

    Heading Home

    The long flight home from Santaigo to Denver was easy and comfortable, and I arrived home to my family in time for a relaxing and happy Thanksgiving. With so much to share, I look forward to the winter for arranging more speaking arrangements and bringing all this learning to others here in Colorado.

    Follow Those Dreams

    In closing, I would encourage all of you reading this to get out there and do what you love, even if it is as weird as loving ice! Follow your dreams and learn as much as you can because life is short, and the world is fascinating! For me, this was a dream come true. After all, how often do we get the chance to fly over the most remote and beautiful place on Earth and learn with NASA? Well, I got to and I'll never be the same.

    Back Home
    Weather Summary
    Snowy and cold in Denver
    22* F



    Are you based directly in the town or are you out side of the city limits?

    Tom Chaney

    Great job on the expedition, you guys did great! What is the age requirements/credentials do I need to go on the next expedition? Have a good night!


    What are you going to do with all the new information, and research that you have.

    Judy Fahnestock

    Thanks for the great wrap-up journal. It sounds like you had a lovely time in Santiago and were able to make a number of new contacts and friends. How is it being back in school in Colorado? I bet your students were very happy to see you again!


    Hi Liam,we were kept very comfortable at a hotel right along the ocean. It was right across the street from the grocery store so we could pick up our snacks really easily, there was a parking garage below the building so we could make a quick get-away to the airport each morning, and meeting rooms to gather for science talks. We also could go out to dinner if we were back in time from the day's work, or on our day off we could explore the town. I walked to the squares and beautiful old cemetery several times. The cemetery was very special, with lovely little plots that were kept up by families, complete with flowers. I can show you pictures sometime. Next year, the team will be based ON Antarctica, giving them access to another survey area on the continent and short flights, but the trade off would be a small plane with fewer instruments. But that is just what I have heard - we will have to check in on this next year!


    Hi Tom!Thanks for the kuddos! We had so much fun working together too. According to members of the team, it was a very good year for getting so much science done and having so few issues and problems. To go on expeditions like this, you would need to work for NASA as a pilot, safety technician, navigator, mechanic, logistics etc or be a scientist at a University that is taking on the study of ice. Or, if you become a teacher, you could apply to be a PolarTREC teacher like me! There is a project called JSEP that is for 11th graders where they can go to Greenland to study too.

    Lucy Weyer

    Hey Maggie,This expedition is to learn more about the ice in Antarctica to have a better understanding of climate change and its effects. My question is what effects does the plane you have been using to do this research have on our atmosphere? Is it in any way eco-friendly? if not, why? And do you believe it is, in any way, contradicting the purpose of the expedition?


    How thick was the ice in different areas that you landed at?

    Maggie Kane

    Thanks Judy, I had an amazing time and really enjoyed the outreach within Chile. I think this project has a lot of opportunity for making an impact right in the "field site area" and I had fun figuring that out. It has been great to get home, but this work was really amazing and I'd love to do a whole lot more of it!

    Maggie Kane

    Hi Isnino,Great question! I was super surprised to learn how really thick the ice was at the middle of the continent. I learned that at the South Pole the ice is between 4-5 km thick so about 15,000. Wow! At the edges of the ice sheets the was much thinner, maybe 1-2000 feet. Ice bergs, that are broken off ice shelf, stick up about 1-200' above the water, and show about 1/9 of the total thickness, so figure about 1800' thick. between the edge and the Pole, we would expect a varying thickness depending on the topography. Thanks for the great question!

    Maggie Kane

    Hi Elle!GREAT question! The data takes a little while to get to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO, where it them becomes public data for ANYONE to use. We will take a look at some later this year. MANY scientists use this data in their work; some glaciologists may use specific area data to help them see where they want to collect ice cores. Scientists who study sea ice may be looking for the extent or thickness of ice in a particular area. Scientists write papers that get read by other scientists and students, and also by policy writers and the international community. When things like the IPCC or the Paris Accord makes recommendations on how to deal with climate change, they use this data to inform their decisions. Scientists hope that law makers and even world leaders like US Presidents understand the science and help the world by using the information gathered on these flights. Thanks for your question!

    Maggie Kane

    Hi Lucy, we get this question from time to time and it is a good one. The plane is on a very special and important mission, filled with lots of sophisticated instruments designed and built by some of America's finest. It is also carrying brilliant people who will take the collected data to be used by the world, including (hopefully) Presidents and world leaders. Policies are written using this data, and nations change their laws and practices based on what this data tells them. With all that said, it is considered a worthy use of the fuel burned. So, while it is certainly contrary to burn so much fuel while studying the effect of burned hydrocarbons on the atmosphere, it is a well designed mission that brings about hugely useful results. With all that said, we totally think about that and grapple with it!