Thursday, January 24, 2013

EBEX terminates, and a hike through Arrival Heights: January 24, 2013

Towards the end of our monitoring shift last night, EBEX's flight was terminated and the payload came down on a parachute. They're located in Victoria Land, a few hundred kilometers north-west of McMurdo on the plateau. It sounds like they may base their recovery out of the Italian base, which sounds like a fun place to visit.

This also means that Super-TIGER is now the only CSBF balloon payload flying over Antarctica (there are a few balloons from the BARREL experiment launched from the British and South African bases up there). We're almost halfway through our third time around, and seem to be basically following our first trip around the continent.

Today we had a very calm day, so after my typical walk out to Hut Point to check for penguins (there were none. It was sad.) I decided to hike up the Hut Point Ridge through Arrival Heights. JohnE, Thomas, and I had done this hike back in October when we first arrived in McMurdo.

Halfway up the hill is a memorial to Richard Williams, who died in McMurdo sound in 1956 when his tractor fell through the ice (Williams Field is also named after him). This memorial has a statue of the virgin Mary and is known as "Roll Cage Mary" around McMurdo.

Normally, the ridge gets really windy, but today it was calm and I barely felt any wind at all. From the top, there were some very nice views looking north into McMurdo Sound.

There also were some great views of Mt. Erebus.

There are a couple of experiments housed on top, and I was able to get some good photos from the road. Officially, the areas off the marked path are restricted, so I wasn't able to get much closer.

 Sean and Thomas went to high-altitude training just in case our payload comes down at a similar elevation Otherwise, there isn't anything else interesting going on down here with Super-TIGER.

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