As we enter week two of weather delays in McMurdo, United States Antarctic Program (USAP) participants in Christchurch are eagerly anticipating the first flights to the ice. After arriving on Thursday, and between rounds of musical hotels, we’ve prepped our gear and taken all training that can be accomplished from New Zealand. This includes learning about internet security, cold weather safety, and environmental protection.
Yesterday was another no-fly day. Devastated by the news (or not), Matt, Frances, and I consoled ourselves by driving out to Arthur’s Pass National Park to do some hiking! Enjoying the greenery, we headed towards Avalanche Peak for spectacular views of ice and rock. Plenty more of those views in store for us, swapping Ralston Peak for Mt. Erebus.
In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving [which no one knew about], we ended the day with a great meal at our hotel and team movie night.
Today we shift to working on science and engineering planning, making sure we are absolutely as prepared as possible when we get to McMurdo. Our group is unique in that we have to simultaneously prioritize operations goals for robot performance and science goals for ice-ocean research. This can involve a lot of translating between nerd languages: engineering and science. At least there’s no shortage of coffee to fuel these marathon team meetings..