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Norwegian-American Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

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Season two begins

by Tom Neumann last modified 2008-10-30 23:50

The first group gathers in Christchurch, New Zealand for the start of Season Two

Eight months after the end of the first season, Norwegians and Americans are gathering again in Christchurch for the final preparations for the second season.  The past eight months have been filled with detailed planning for both logistics and science operations.

During the first season, the 2007-08 traverse team traveled overland from the Norwegian Troll Station towards the South Pole, stopping at Plateau Station and the Pole of Inaccessibility along the way.  Mechanical problems with the transfer cases on the vehicles stopped the traverse some 350 km short of the South Pole.  After careful consideration, it was decided that the people and science samples would fly on to the South Pole for transit back home, while the vehicles, modules, and sleds remained behind at a site named "Camp Winter".

This season, our goals are to return to Camp Winter to fix the vehicles and complete the traverse to South Pole.  After collecting fuel and science cargo, the traverse will leave the South Pole for points north, ending back at the Troll Station (link to map here).  Our team this year consists of two groups.

The first group has been gathering in Christchurch the over the past week.  We will travel to McMurdo on 31 Oct. to collect additional cargo and food for the season.  From McMurdo, we will head to the South Pole on about 8 Nov.  After sorting and prioritizing cargo, we will fly to
Camp Winter on about 15 Nov.  We plan to spend about 3 weeks at Camp Winter, repairing the vehicles and doing some science.  As the repair work will be quite technical, the first team of 9 people (Tom, John, Einar, Svein, Lou, Kjetil, Glen, Zoe, and Rune) has extensive expertise
in heavy equipment repairs.  If all goes well, we will drive in to the South Pole on about 5 Dec.

The second group will gather in Christchurch in about three weeks. While in McMurdo, the group will have some time to test scientific equipment such as radar systems to make sure they have survived the long trip from home.  This group of 5 people (Ted, Anna, Kirsty, Ole, and
Andreas) will fly down to the South Pole to meet up with the first team in early December.

Once the entire team is at South Pole, we will collect new cargo and fuel, and send off Kjetil, Rune, and Glen who should be home in time for Christmas with their families.  The remaining group of 12 will head north for Troll.  We plan to stop every few days for science projects
such as UAV flights and ice core collection, and hope to arrive at Troll in mid-Feburary.

In the coming weeks, we will share details about the advanced science we will be conducting, as well as the up-and-downs of life on the traverse.  We are looking forward to sharing our season with all of you, and thank you for following along with us.


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