Still in McMurdo

December 29, 2008

Dec 30

Flight delays due to bad weather are common. The SAFAIR L-100 that we were supposed to fly in has not left Christchurch yet due to bad weather. It is expected to leave Christchurch at 12:00 p.m. This means that it will get here around 8:00 p.m. So we might  leave early next morning. If the L-100 does not arrive,  a smaller plane will leave with some of the people. Some people have been put on the bump list, including Chris and Kristof. This means that if the smaller plane flies, they will not get a seat.

Update: The L-100 has been cancelled. The smaller plane, Hercules, is expected to leave tomorrow morning. This means that Chris and Kristof will get bumped off, and will probably fly out on the next flight on Friday.


Last day in Antarctica

December 29, 2008

Chris, Kristof and I fly out to Christchurch tomorrow. We returned our sleep kits and other gear to BFC and have to drop off our bags tonight. Bill and Vickie will fly out on Jan 2.

We reached McMurdo at around 10:30 p.m. on the 26th (Friday). We had worked very long hours for the past 4 weeks and everyone was exhausted. It was strange to suddenly see so many people and great to have access to things that we usually take for granted in our industrialized world – running hot water, hot shower, clean clothes, fresh vegetables and fruits.

We took Saturday off and I managed to sleep for 12 hours straight on Saturday night.  We sorted through our lab stuff on Sunday to decide what stays here for next year’s mission and what goes back with us to Stone Aerospace.

Last Mission

December 25, 2008

Based on the data from previous missions and what we saw yesterday, we identified a section of the glacier face that was reasonably flat, and the water near it was deep enough for the robot to approach it safely. We decided to drive up close to this part of the face, and try to get some  images. The robot managed to follow the wall closely at a distance of about 2.5 m and we got some images of the glacier face. The visibility was poor and  the images were not very crisp, but we were still able to see the glacier face.

Image of the glacier face taken during our wall-following mission. Thanks to Kristof for this image.

Image of the glacier face taken during our wall-following mission. Thanks to Kristof for this image.

We are done with our missions today – we got all the data we wanted and we will start packing up tomorrow. We celebrated our success with champagne and raised a toast to everyone who had contributed to this project. This list is very long and I have mentioned some of the people in my previous blog entries, but I will try to make a more comprehensive list later.