Wednesday, December 12, 2007

AGO's

From south pole I took a couple three hour flights to two different automated geophysical observatory (AGO) sites. Yes the entire flight looked like the photo above except when the windows would frost over and you couldn't see anything. The AGOs are located at a minimum of 300 miles away from Pole on the Eastern Antarctica Plateau. I was located at 85 degrees south latitude and 45 degrees longitude at an elevation of about 6200ft for about a week. The photo below is of AGO2 but of the four that are functional, there used to be six but two have gotten buried by drifting snow, you probably couldn't tell any difference, they look the same. There is a small building that holds all the electronic gear and the a couple of wind generators to keep the place running in the winter when solar power doesn't work. We set up a couple of tents for the week but other otherwise that is about it. My job out there is to find old caches of food, gear, or fuel laying around out there from when the air force installed the facility and then dig it up. I also helped raise the hut up which was being buried by snow drifts. It took us two days to do it but as you can kind of see it is now several feet above the snow.
The last photo is of me at AGO3, located at about 10,000ft. To work at this site we had to just do a day trip because it is quite a pain in the butt for the small airplanes to fly that far away with a ton of gear. We made it a quick trip rather than no trip at all. As you can see this hut is a little lower then the other one. My job at this site was to dig things up while the scientists fixed the machines. As you can see by how pink my face is I have been outside all day getting sun burnt. The working temp was -35 so I just shoveled until I needed food or water and then would keep shoveling. At those temps I get very cold very quickly if I am not doing something. The good thing is that when I returned to McMurdo a few days later and it was 30F it felt like it was the middle of the summer.I really liked working at the AGO sites. There is nothing out there but I stayed busy helping the scientists and digging things up. It was by far the most remote I have ever been in my life and it felt like I was finally in Antarctica. When the plane flew away there was nothing as far as the eye could see, just a horizon line that is hard to tell what is land and what is sky. Pretty cool to think that the closest thing was a three hour flight away.



3 comments:

Gary said...

Wow. That is pretty much the coolest thing that I have ever heard of. When I grow up, I want to bean antarctic bad-ass like my Galen Dossin.

Maggie said...

Wow Galen, awesome stuff there. Do you ever just want to run up and Hug the penguins? They're so cute! And your wall could us a little buttressing. Keep up the good work bro!

Anonymous said...

From jsks: yes, what's up with that wall, I can see right through it?are u getting soft down there?