It Takes a Lot to Get Here
Greetings. This is my first official day at McMurdo Station, the main US research base in Antarctica. I am very excited to start bringing you the stories of POLENET science and what life is like as we do our work from one of the most remote places on the face of the Earth.
This season a small contingent of researchers from multiple universities will be working to install and maintain very high precision global positioning systems and seismometers. It is our goal within POLENET to cover a large portion of Antarctica with these sensors to begin to understand the science of interaction between the great ice sheets and the earth below. This understanding is vital to understand the relationship of the ice and the rock in the past as a window of what to expect in the future.
This season we will be working mainly out of McMurdo Station using helicopters and Twin Otter aircraft to go install new equipment as well as service and upgrade equipment that we installed last year. One very exciting portion of this season will be working out of a remote tent camp far south in the Trans-Antarctic Mountains.
The title of this story is “It takes a lot to get here”, in a sense that can be said about the many commercial flights I took to get here - from Ohio to Christchurch, New Zealand, the ingress point for all personnel going to Antarctica, to the US Air Force C-17 jet that flew me down to the ice, and all of the support running the facilities here at McMurdo Station. But I guess I meant for the title to reflect a much larger statement.
The amount of planning for a project this size has taken years to get us even to this point in the story. Of course, it first began with the idea that Antarctica has so many unknowns that it would take observations on a massive scale to begin to break the secret of the earth that lies beneath miles of ice. This project, from concept, to funding, to implementation of each field season, has taken the dedication and ingenuity of many scientists and engineers all across the world.
I will look forward to bringing you this .
Postcards from the Field: Polenet