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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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  Friday, January 6, 2006

Eric did not get to go home last night. The plane got here and tried three times to land, but finally had to boomerang back to McMurdo. The weather was overcast, with a low ceiling of clouds. We could hear the plane, but could barely see it. Eric is now scheduled to leave at 5:00 am tomorrow. We will see. The very changeable weather certainly makes scheduling things difficult and he is not counting on it.

This morning we heard the sound of a new machine outside our work tent. The camp staff were making new holes for the outhouses. We assume that most of you know that an outhouse is an outdoor bathroom. They made the new holes by digging a small pit with a shovel, then pumping hot air into the hole to make a much larger and deeper hole in the ice. The machines ran all day and made two pretty deep pits. They will move the outhouse buildings over the new holes tomorrow. Then they will fill in the old, nasty holes and mark them with flags. So we expect much better smelling bathrooms tomorrow. They use styrofoam seats in these outhouses. Styrofoam doesn't get cold like wood or plastic seats, so that is quite a benefit. In most field camps, you don't get an outhouse, so we are happy to have these facilities.

The depth sounder radar team of Claude, Abdul and Pannir left about noon today. Richard copied and backed up the data they had brought in yesterday and Prasad spent most of the day analysing them. The team will run two more lines today, so we don't expect them back until midnight. There are some intriguing possibilities seen in yesterday's data and Prasad has devised a method to look at some of the area more closely.

Dave, Joel and Jerome went to dig another snow pit in the morning, then returned to camp. After lunch, the same group, accompanied by Prasad and Jennifer, went out to take data on the pit they had just dug. It was really a nice day (around 15 F) with 5-6 knot winds, up until about 3:30 pm when it started snowing. But it was gorgeous at the snow pit - overcast, but with very interesting clouds. The immensity of the ice cap begins to strike you with great force when you leave camp.

Several of us got a bath today and washed some clothes. We have an old-fashioned washing machine where you use a stick to agitate the clothing and then drain it by turning the spigot on a hose. You fill the washing machine by carrying buckets of water. Then you run your clothes through a "mangle" or rollers for the spin cycle. Luckily we also have an electric dryer. That is a wonderful thing because you can be sure your clothing gets completely dry.

Jennifer interviewed the chef today and learned that she is a Native American from the Athabascan tribe in Alaska. Her story was very interesting and we will publish it when we get back. Video was taken and sent to the Web via the Virtual Dashboard. If you view the virtual dashboard, you should see the radar team fueling the Pisten Bully and the snow pit team taking off on their snowboards.

Another good day with lots of data collected.

NOTE: This was the entire journal entry, not just page 1.

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