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Friday, January 27, 2012

Awesome cool! Michael Ashley at the South Pole! Week 5 of the Antarctic Diaries!

This stuff is so cool!  Who knew?

The Antarctic Diaries. Week Five

It’s hard to ignore Antarctica’s natural beauty, especially when ice halos come out to play. Michael Ashley
Professor Michael Ashley is currently in Antarctica to deploy a telescope to one of the most remote locations on Earth – a place known as Ridge A, some 850 km from the South Pole.
This is the fifth instalment in Professor Ashley’s Antarctica Diaries. To read the previous instalments, follow the links at the bottom of this article.

January 9 – Airdrop, or not

An “airdrop” is where an aircraft flies over and, rather than landing, drops cargo using parachutes. This isn’t all that useful during summertime, where it is easier just to land an LC-130 on the ice. But during winter (when it’s not possible to land due to low ground temperatures which freeze the aircraft’s hydraulics) an airdrop can be the only way of getting urgent cargo such as medical supplies to the Pole.
For the past week, a C-17 aircraft has been waiting at Christchurch for the weather to be good enough for an airdrop. The C-17 will fly non-stop to the Pole, drop its cargo, and then head back to Christchurch.
Early this morning, after several false starts, the C-17 started its long journey south, and just after breakfast a group of 50 of us waited about 500 metres from the station to witness the airdrop. By all accounts it can be quite spectacular.
Much, much more at this link, and it just keeps getting more and more interesting as you keep reading, no kidding!  Do you know what the SPUD experiment is, for example?  The Holy Grail of cosmology...!

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