We have received our first update from Antarctica! Peter Lambert (PhD student, University of Reading) arrived at Rothera research station one week ago, and sent us the following report today:
At Rothera there is Andy, Tom, Anna, Liz and myself and everything is currently going really well. We have been carrying out our basic training, ranging from driving skidoos to cooking whilst in the field. With most of the basic training out of the way, we managed to load up the Sno-cat (see attached picture) and make our way to the caboose just off base where we could test our instruments. The ground penetrating radar has been tested and we augered a hole to a depth of 4 m so that the neutron probe could also be checked. All went well with the equipment, which is great news, leaving the iSTAR team feeling confident about the upcoming traverse. Over the next few days we plan to return to the caboose to repeat measurements and ensure that the choreography of the measurement techniques is well established. The weather currently isn’t on our side at the moment so we will have to wait until tomorrow or Sunday to carry out further testing.
James, Jonny and Tim were flown out to the over-winter depot on Saturday so that they could dig out the two Polars/caboose and head to Sky Blu to clear the runway. They worked through Saturday night and by Sunday morning arrived at Sky Blu (an impressive achievement). At Sky Blu they have been slowed by the weather (90 knot gusting winds) but have still been able to clear most of the runway. At Sky Blu, they are now currently waiting for more kit to be flown in from Rothera and then they will be able to make tracks towards point one of the traverse. The flight delivering the kit is scheduled from Rothera today but the flying conditions are currently unworkable so this may be pushed back a day or two.
In all, everything is going well and we are all eagerly waiting for the next clear weather window so we can get this show on the snow.