Project Extremes Antarctica

Scientists and teachers team up to conduct research in the most extreme environment on earth


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Into the Field!

Yesterday, we arrived at the field camp designated F6 in the Taylor Valley. We had a fabulous day for flying – clear and calm. After leaving McMurdo Station we flew out over the sea ice of the Ross Sea and had amazing views of Mount Erebus.

On the way in to land at camp, we had outstanding views of the Canada, Commonwealth, Howard, and Crescent Glaciers. The camp looked tiny in relation to the Taylor Valley.

As soon as we landed, the helicopter technician helped us unload our gear and move it well away from the helicopter. The pilot stays in the helicopter and keeps it running, so it is important to watch out where you are walking but also to work efficiently and as a team. It is extremely noisy and windy!

At F6 at last! All smiles in my big red as the helicopter leaves us at the field camp.

Happy to be in the field! All smiles in my “big red” as the helicopter leaves us at F6.

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The Logistics of Living in the Field

We are realizing that the logistics of conducting research in Antarctica are different than in some other places. We are excitedly preparing for our field work.

Life in the field begins well before we step off the helicopter in the McMurdo Dry Valleys.

Today, we spent time preparing our “food pull,” which is the term used here for grocery shopping for the meals eaten in the field. We carefully planned out our meals for the time that we will be out and then went to a warehouse that is full of food; it is very similar to a grocery store. Continue reading


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The Lab

Yesterday, as part of our orientation, we took a tour of the Crary Science and Engineering Center (CSEC), which houses the lab that we will be working in here in Antarctica. Just like in my classroom, we went over all of the safety procedures, locations of eyewashes, fire escapes, and general lab safety. There is so much fascinating science going on here – you can learn from everyone and they are glad to answer questions.

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Getting around in Antarctica

We have been fascinated by the range of vehicles that are used to get around Antarctica. I am still trying to understand the vastness of this place. Because of the extreme conditions and rugged terrain, vehicles used to do work here and transport people are very cool.

After landing on the ice runway, we were introduced to our first extreme vehicle: the bus that would take us on the 40 minute ride to McMurdo. It was bouncy. The driver rides alone in the front cab while all of the passengers are in the back cabin – she gave us a radio to call her in case of trouble! Continue reading


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What do we wear in Antarctica?

We are finding the weather at McMurdo Station to be more mild than we expected. Still, all people who come to Antarctica are issued what is called extreme cold weather (ECW) gear.
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The picture, above, shows our extreme cold weather gear issue that we got before leaving New Zealand. We were required to have it with us on the airplane to Antarctica. The clothing issue includes the following items: Continue reading