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Questions from Mrs. Taylor's 5th grade Tech/Engineering classes
Hi Tim! Welcome back to the USA and Happy Holidays to you and your family! Thank you for sharing so much information with us! It was great to hear directly from the engineers and see the technologies being used in Antarctica. Here are a few questions from my students when you have time: 1) Since Antartica is so volcanic, is it possible to use geothermal energy for heat? Why or why not? 2) What types of technology are used to keep you warm? (What kinds of insulators are used in the jackets or in the tents?) 3) What would happen if someone got too cold while out in the field? 4) Have you seen any whales? If so, what kind? 5) Why don't penguins feet freeze?
Questions from Mrs. Taylor's 5th grade Tech/Engineering classes

Thanks for the questions I'll try and answer each one below:

1) Since Antartica is so volcanic, is it possible to use geothermal energy for heat? Why or why not?

I think that's a really good question. There are active volcanoes near the coastal areas, but not at South Pole. You could use geothermal at a place like McMurdo, but my guess is that it would be pretty costly to do this in Antarctica for such a few number of people, so they do what is cheapest.

2) What types of technology are used to keep you warm? (What kinds of insulators are used in the jackets or in the tents?)

The "Big Red" coat I wear is goose down and costs about $800, but it keeps you warm. You need to wear materials that can "breath" letting the water vapor from your skin out while keeping the heat in. And the boots have heavy insulation in them ... especially the soles .. they are about 3 inches thick.

3) What would happen if someone got too cold while out in the field?

They could suffer from frost bite or in extreme cases die. Here is a website with great information on hypothermia ... it doesn't just happen in Antarctica, it can happen in Massachusetts too. http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.asp

4) Have you seen any whales? If so, what kind?

No ... unfortunately when I was out on the coast with the penguins the whales were still about 30 miles out.

5) Why don't penguins feet freeze?

good insulation!! :-)

6) if we were interested in going to Antarctica, what's the best way to get there? (Career). How long can people stay there?

The best way to get to Antarctica is be determined and stubborn. There are lots of ways to get there but it's very competitive. For example at McMurdo Station the individuals who cook the meals and clean up the kitchen area have an average education of 5 years of college. This means that people with the Masters degrees and PhDs are taking jobs in the kitchen just to get down to Antarctica. But as far as getting on a research team focus on science, engineering, and mathematics. Here is the website with the current job openings http://www.usap.gov/usapgov/jobsAndOpportunities/index.cfm?m=1 . Also as far as how long people stay ... some people like me go down for a month, others 4 months and others will winter over and are there for 13 months.

Thanks again! We look forward to hearing back from you when you have time! We will finish talking about your journey in early January. If you ever make it up to MA, we'd love to have you as a special guest!! :)

WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN MA? I WILL BE IN BOSTON IN EARLY FEBRUARY

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Thank you!

Hi Tim! It's so good to hear back from you! Thank you very much for your responses!

We are about an hour or so outside of Boston, so I'm not sure if that would be doable for you? If its possible, it would be great!! You are like a celebrity here! :)

Let us know!

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Thank you!

Hi Tim! It's so good to hear back from you! Thank you very much for your responses!

We are about an hour or so outside of Boston, so I'm not sure if that would be doable for you? If its possible, it would be great!! You are like a celebrity here! :)

Let us know!

Guest
Guest's picture
Thank you!

Hi Tim! It's so good to hear back from you! Thank you very much for your responses!

We are about an hour or so outside of Boston, so I'm not sure if that would be doable for you? If its possible, it would be great!! You are like a celebrity here! :)

Let us know!