Travel Log: January 21st, 2000

January 21st, 2000

Randy and Milly at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Randy writes:
Weather for South Pole Station
01-21-2000 at 19:08 Z
Temperature -26.7 C -16 F
Wind 359 At 16.2 Knots
Windchill -51.1 C -59.9 F
Barometer 685.8 mB
Physio Altitude 10408. ft

Steve and I are both still feeling the altitude. Waking up this am after a good night's sleep was a bit deceptive. Today we are mostly emailing people, and taking photos.

Steve writes:
We left McMurdo Station on Thurs, Jan 20th, about 8:30 and flew about 3 1/2 hours here to the Pole. We flew on the same plane that we flew to McMurdo in but this time it was much emptier. There was even room to lay down...

Arriving at the South Pole Station was smoother than at McMurdo. Upon stepping off the plane, you first realize how much colder it is than McMurdo....and desolate.

We went immediately to galley for food and had a brief orientation then went to claim our bags and go to our housing. The disorientation is real. As is the altitude sickness. I have often suffered shortness of breath, fast heart rate and diziness. I got my stuff to the quarters, unpacked and met Randy to come back here to the Science Bldg to write email. Basically there's not much we can do today but get acclimated to the cold and altitude.

We might try some minimal bike testing soon but most of that will happen over the next 3 days.

Click on any small image to retrieve a larger one...

Steve, Randy, and Milly at the "front door" of the Station.

Everyone visits the Galley for a snack, including Milly. Milly meets Chris Martin, who helps her have some breakfast. Chris is a winter-over for one of the CARA telescopes (AST/RO) for next year and currently a postdoc at CfA.

Then it's off to the computer room to check for email. While there, Milly met John Storey, an Australian astronomer and professor at the University of New South Wales.

There is a lot of construction at the South Pole because they are building a new power plant and a new station. Here is some of the ongoing construction.

John Yamasaki, the DASI winterover, working on some of the astronomical equipment.
Tony Stark, the principal investigator for the AST/RO telescope, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The AST/RO telescope is under the "baby buggy" cover in this shot, on top of the building. The cover allows the scientists to work on the telescope without freezing.
This is the people-sized door that is cut out of the ground shield for the Viper telescope.

A tour of the Dome

Here are several pictures that show what it looks like under the geodesic dome look like.
Looking back out the entrance towards the outside.
The walls of the corridors are very cold, and what little humidity there is in the air (which comes from, for example, exhaled human breath) quickly settles on the walls, lending an otherworldly feel to the environment, even inside.
The highest point of the ceiling lets in a little light.
Hey! The bikes!

Tomorrow: a test ride!


For Steve's Travel Log, see the Ice Prowler website.

Go on to the
next day...