Sunny skies and finding meteorites

Katie Joy | 22 Dec 2019

The team is all together now at our Outer Recovery fieldsite! The last few days have seen a lot of activity. On the 19th I flew from Halley with pilot Mark to drop off the science kit at Outer Recovery with Wouter and Geoff — this included the final set of panels and our meteorite extraction equipment. Then a series of short 30 minute flights took us to a refuelling depot, over to Romain and Taff to collect a skidoo and a Nansen sledge, back to Geoff and Wouter to drop these off, back to refuel the plane, then back to Romain and Taff to pick them and the final skidoo up, and finally drop everyone off at Outer Recovery site.

The team looks onto a recent find. [Credit: Katie Joy]

It was a pretty long day with a lot of flying, with a lot of skidoo loading and unloading onto the planes (this whole exercise is a right pain in the butt – the skidoos just (just) about fit through a Twin Otter door and it takes four people to rotate, bump, pull and push them in and out of the plane). Finally, we were all together as a team, and the next day we waved goodbye to fieldguide Rob who returned with pilot Mark to Halley, before moving camp 2 km down the road (or rather sastrugi-covered surfaces) to set up on the edge of the blue icefield where we will be working. It has been sunny, cold but very windy (we reckon about –22°C with windchill) at the field site. Yesterday, the summer solstice, brought a day where we explored the ice surface, finding 7 more surface meteorites (a nice mix of shapes and sizes, with several looking different to each other), and did some more in-field testing of the panel arrays – we have been burying small iron dummy meteorites to tune the system to working on ice (rather than the rocky cargo yard at Rothera, or the soil field at Whaley Bridge).  The wind has dropped, the temperature is up and today the plan is to do another testing round out on our practice search area to get the system finalised. Hopefully we will be in a position to begin buried meteorite searching soon, and in the meantime will do some more surface searching. 

Geoff with a recent meteorite find. [Credit: Romain Tartese]

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