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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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  Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Today we are still in Christchurch, New Zealand. We spent much of the
morning looking over our e-mail and contacting friends, colleagues and
families back home. We checked in on another PRISM team that had left
Kansas in early December; this team consisted of Eric Akers (Graduate Research
Assistant), Torry Akins (Research Engineer), Pannir Kanagaratnam
(Research Assistant Professor), Claude Laird (Research Associate), and Abdul
Jabbar Mohammad (Graduate Research Assistant). This team had finally been
able to get to the WAIS Divide Camp out on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, after
being delayed by bad weather. They spent their first day working really hard
to try to make up for lost time. By this morning they had set up and
tested the Iridium communications link that gives the group access to the Internet
and e-mail. They had also assembled a radar sled and had successfully
transmitted near-real time video from the camp via the Virtual Dashboard.
They also gave us the good news that Raytheon Polar Services had
erected a Jamesway bunkhouse for us and were to finish a shower facility by the
end of today. Hooray!

NSF supplies the protective clothing we need in Antarctica. So, in the
afternoon, we went to the Antarctic Center to get our clothing. Every
piece of clothing has to be tried on and there is a LOT of it. If any of it
doesn't fit or is broken or torn, the item has to be returned and
another checked out and tried on. Once all the clothing is satisfactory, each
person's clothes have to be packed in duffel bags, one to carry on to
the plane and the other stowed in the cargo hold. Then each bag is weighed
to be sure it is no more than 75 lbs. Our bags weighed around 40 lbs., so we
were allowed to add clothing and supplies we had brought from home. It took
some of our team members about 2 hours to complete the whole process.

And boy, those clothes are warm! We should be well protected from the elements.
This evening we had a nice dinner in town and toured the marvelous Christchurch Botanical Gardens. The gardens are so lush, with an amazing variety of flowers, grasses and trees. Many of us saw a giant sequoia for the first time in our lives. It was a beautiful peaceful time.
We are scheduled to leave for McMurdo Station in Antarctica at 6:30 am tomorrow.
We hope that the weather holds so that there is no delay or cancellation.

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

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