Updates from Dale Andersen in Antarctica

Updates from Dale Andersen in Antarctica

Dale Andersen, Senior Research Scientist at the SETI Institute, is currently conducting field research in Antarctica. His research interests focus on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe ...

... and he will be locating, characterizing, and understanding environments where physical and chemical conditions approach or exceed the tolerances for life.

Follow along! View the location or send a reply to Dale Andersenhttps://inreach.garmin.com/textmessage/txtmsg?extId=0ead8aef-0285-42e5-b764-3cfc4b489c7c (for the best view, select the aerial layer and zoom out).

October 30, 2018 

We arrived at the Novolazarevskaya ice runway Thursday evening via the ALCI chartered IL-76 about 8pm without incident; it is very nice to be back here again. We are early enough to enjoy a bit of darkness for several hours too, with a beautiful sunset off to the south of the station. We are staying at the ice-runway, and over the coming days we will prepare for the traverse to Untersee. Unfortunately, a storm arrived about 10 hrs. after we landed and we have been in whiteout conditions for the last two days with visibility of less than 50 meters.

The small blizzard blew out on Sunday, so yesterday was our first real day of work. After digging out the entrance (several hours) we pulled out our skidoos from storage, attached the sleds, and drove them down to Schirmacher Oasis and back to make sure they were working ok. Today we will begin organizing our cargo and gear for the traverse to Untersee - we hope to be there in 2-3 days, depending on how things go with our local logistics and weather. But so far, so good!

November 1, 2018 

We had a busy day yesterday preparing for the traverse to Untersee. We should have everything in place by this afternoon and are scheduled to depart tomorrow morning if the weather is ok. I will try to have tracking set up on my Garmin InReach, so you can follow along.

November 2, 2018 

Arrived Untersee 3pm UTC, all ok, first tent up.
View the location or send a reply to Dale Andersen: https://inreach.garmin.com/textmessage/txtmsg?extId=0ead8aef-0285-42e5-b764-3cfc4b489c7c&adr (for the best view, select the aerial layer, and zoom out)

November 3, 2018 

We are at Lake Untersee now, three tents up with 45-50 knot winds keeping us company. Will try to give an update tomorrow, we are heading to bed early tonight since we had a very long day yesterday and today in blowing snow and wind. My sleeping bag is calling....

November 4, 2018 

Today was a pretty productive day. We turned in early yesterday; everyone was pretty tired from the traverse the day before, followed by a day of getting two more tents up and a first cut at organizing the camp. Yesterday was another day with high winds and blowing snow, that made the work all the more tedious. But we awoke this morning to a quiet calm and after a quick breakfast we began the day with a quick snowmobile tour around the lake (its 6 km long) and continued setting up the camp. This afternoon we drilled through the 3.5 meters of ice to make sure we have fresh water for drinking and cooking the freeze-dried meals (a variety of BackPackers Pantry cuisine). Tomorrow we will begin putting up the diving tent and organize the science lab, getting generators online, etc. But, we will see what the weather brings us, which could impact our activities.

Cheers from Lake Untersee!

November 5, 2018 

Just after getting a couple of tents set up today, the winds started pounding us with 60 knot gusts, and probably increasing this evening to what are likely 75-80 knot winds. We spent another few hours outside trying to protect our new homes; now we hope to stay indoors for a while as this storm moves by. We do have a metal sea container that could provide a safe-house if needed. But I do not think it will come to that!

November 6, 2018 

Our winds have continued unabated likely hitting 40-50 m/s at times. We did lose four of our tents yesterday despite our best efforts to save them - the winds were just too much. But we are safe in another tent for the moment and we will rebuild the camp when the weather improves.