Monday, February 8, 2010

A Quick Tour Around the South Pole Station Before Leaving

It looks like this will probably be my last entry, since I'm scheduled to leave tomorrow. It's been really interesting and I'm really glad I got the chance to come to Antarctica.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the station interior before I sign off. It's where I spend the bulk of my time. While it's not as scenic as Antarctica, it's still pretty interesting. As I mentioned previously, the station is shaped like an "M" with an extra leg. The legs are full of rooms which are used mostly for sleeping because they're so tiny. The bar of the "M" is where most of the living and working happens. It's a two-story structure. In addition to laboratories, there are also many rooms just for living and passing the time. There's a reading room:

An Arts & Crafts room:

Lots of coat rooms (for obvious reasons):

Everywhere you look there's evidence that people have a lot of free time and a lot of creativity:

Four meals a day are served in the galley: breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight rations (or mid rats). They always have nice vegetarian options at every meal.

The galley is also the main congregating point. While I was here there were movie showings, bingo games, and trivia contests in the galley. Tonight we're going to have a Super Bowl viewing party, so please no one tell me the score.

Here's where I do the bulk of my work, at the IceCube Science Lab.

The station is also home to innumerable bizarre objects and characters. Here's a shrine in one of the labs:

And this horrifying creature is actually the IceTop mascot:

It almost makes me happy I live out in the Jamesways because it can't get to me at night all the way out there.

There's also a maze of tunnels running under the station that pump out sewage and bring in fresh water from the wells (they're called rod wells because the water comes from big holes drilled into the ice).

It is almost always about -60F in the tunnels which is very cold.

Thanks for following my blog and for all the e-mails. I'm very happy and honored that I've been given the chance to come to the South Pole. It's been fabulous.

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