Polar vehicles

There are definitely some funny-looking, unique, vehicles down here… In addition to the snowmobiles pulling sleds that we ride behind on

and interesting planes,

here’s a really good one – a modified van, with tracks instead of wheels!

The tracks help it go over the soft snow, especially early in the season when the “roads” have not been compacted enough by travel.

Finally, here’s both a “lift bucket” (the orange thing) that raises up workers that are doing something up high, in this case taking down some “side shields” from our telescope to make room for a new “guard ring” around the primary mirror… and a crane (the black thing) that is lifting the heavy parts to bring them down to the ground once they’re detached.

The cold weather is hard on all these vehicles – they break down a lot, but there’s a full time shop here that fixes them and keeps them going. It takes a lot of work down here just to supply us with all the things we need to get our job done. All that is taken care of by Raytheon Polar Services, the “contractor” hired by the National Science Foundation (who gave us the grant to do our work, too) to take care of operations and logistics for the US Antarctic Program. So, we don’t have to worry about heating our buildings, getting electricity, finding or cooking food – it’s all taken care of by NSF and Raytheon. (A big thanks to them!)

1 thought on “Polar vehicles

  1. I’m curious to know how many people are there with you. Not just you guys, but the Raytheon Polar Services guys, and any other full time people. You hear “South Pole” or “North Pole” (either pole will do), and you just think sparse. In reality, how many folks are out there?

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