Night out

Romain Tartese | 28 Nov 2019

Hello world, it’s Romain here, from Rothera! As Katie mentioned in her blog post yesterday, we were lucky to spend the night out last night with Wouter, our guide Rob, and a couple of other people. And it was stunning! The weather has been amazing over the past few days, and the views from the ‘campsite’ are well worth it. Driving up the hill, it started with great views down toward Rothera, as you can see in the photo below.

View toward Rothera on the way up to the ‘campsite’ [Credit: R. Tartese]

Rob then taught us how to put up a pyramid tent, which is the tent that will keep us warm when out in the field in a few days. It was fairly straightforward to set up, but of course the weather might not be so kind next time we’ll have to put it up. Once set up we got to realise what we really signed up for (i.e. 5-6 weeks living in a tent…), and I’ve got to say these tents are pretty comfortable for 2 people.

Wouter paying close attention to Rob’s instructions [Credit: R. Tartese]

All in all we had great fun and a great night of sleep, in fact a bit too warm in these very thick sleeping bags and such a mild weather. More fun today, with some exciting skidoo training. Now back to put all our kit together! I’ll leave you with a few photos from the ‘campsite’ 🙂

View from last night campsite [Credit: R. Tartese]
Tent with a view! [Credit: R. Tartese]

Made it to Punta Arenas

25 Nov 2019

Hi there, it’s Romain! We made it to Punta Arenas, at the southern tip of Chile, last night after a few flights that took us across the Atlantic to Sao Paulo and then Santiago in Chile.

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We were welcomed by a very Manchester-like weather of 7-8 degres accompanied by drizzle! This morning after breakfast we’ll be updated on whether the weather is good enough  for our Dash flight to take us to Antarctica! As a newbie whom has never been to Antarctica, I am very excited!!



Meteorite searching in hotter deserts

18 Nov 2019

You can pop over to our sister blog site at Earth and Solar System to see what two of the UK Antarctic Meteorites team (Katherine Joy and Romain Tartese) have been up to over the last couple of weeks in the Atacama desert.

Somewhat warmer meteorite hunting than our forthcoming season on the ice!

Getting ready to head to the ice

Katie Joy | 27 Sep 2019

It only seems like we just got back from Svalbard, but the next phase of the Lost Meteorites project field campaign has reached a milestone. We have packed up all of our equipment to send down to Antarctica for the upcoming field campaign.

The plan at the moment is for four team members – Geoff (project PI), Wouter (l field engineer), Katie (meteorite expert) and Romain (meteorite expert) to get to BAS’s Rothera reserach station in late November, and then travel onto the field to meet up with our field guide Taffs for the remote fieldsite campaign.

To support our final field season we have packed up and shipped all the items we are going to need for the planned season:

  • Five of our metal detector panels – we are taking two arrays with us (with five panels per array) and all the updated design of the electronic signal processing system boxes
  • the panel array towing kit (see below)
  • ice augers for extracting ice-bound meteorites
  • meteorite collection kits to recover meteorites found and within the ice
  • ancillary field gear

All this equipment is now making its way south so we look forward to seeing it in Antarctica in November!

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Welcome Jane!

25 Sep 2019

We have a new Lost Meteorites of Antarctica team member!

Welcome to Dr Jane MacArthur, who did her PhD at the Univeristy of Leicester, has started working in the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences Isotope Group to help with the meteorite classification activities. Jane has expertise working with martian meteorites and samples collected by the Stardust comet sample return mission, and brings with her a lot of knowledge about different meteorite groups. 

We are looking forward to getting started on seeing what types of samples were recovered in the first field campaign and hope to post some exciting updates in the near future. 

A note about field communications

Katie Joy | 06 Feb 2019

Now I am back in the land of the internet I just wanted to send a huge thanks to Andy Smedley who has worked really hard back in Manchester to do all the blog posts when Geoff and I have been out in the field.

The way things have (mostly) been working is that I would send Andy the blog words in a text file via our in-field Iridium Go satellite phone link along with a selection of photos. He then gets everything into the blog site for posting — so thanks very much to him for all his efforts as it can be a bit of a faff to get everything in place and I know he was working at weekends to get things live as quickly as possible.

Some of the twitter has been me from the field with direct updates (the magic of the sat phone again) and most other tweets have been from Andy.

It seems that the link has compressed down the resolution of most of the images I sent to save it bandwidth use, so at some stage I will put up some nice high resolution versions.

Many thanks also to those of you who have been following the blog, we appreciate your interest in the project and will keep on posting updates as we have exciting news stories to post over the next few weeks / months.

Back at Rothera and heading towards home

Katie Joy | 06 Feb 2019

A quick update to say that we arrived safely back at Rothera Research Station around 9 pm last night. Vicky put in an amazing effort to get us back from Halley on the Twin Otter all in one day with bad weather swirling around. Goodbye to Halley and the fab team of people who are working really hard there to wrap up the end of their season of work. Thanks so much to all for making our field season a success and for your hospitality looking after us so well.

Goodbye to Halley research station — now raised up on its legs higher than when we came through just before New Year.

The views on route as we winged our way west were amazing out of the window (when I wasn’t snoozing) and we got a great view of the mountains close to Fossil Bluff through the mist and also saw a glory in the mist layer (see photo and caption for more). On flights like this, you realise how big Antarctica is and how flat and white and expansive most of the landscape is — just miles and miles of sastrugi-covered snow surfaces, with the occasional crevasse or rocky nunatak to break the horizon.

Stunning mountain tops on route with long shadows as the austral summer comes to an end and some twilight starts to return
Fully circular “rainbow” seen from the plane in the mist layer — more properly called a Glory

Rothera has changed somewhat since we were last here, with the new wharf works ongoing, but there are a few seals swimming around in the bay. Today has been a day of sorting out shipping and items to get back home before I am due to fly back tomorrow on the Dash 7 back to Punta and then onto the UK over the weekend.

Good Morning from Sky Blu

Geoff Evatt | 20 Jan 2019

An audio update on all the action from Sky Blu: skidoo drag tests, ice coring, and bread-making.

Click to listen [9m 19s]

A cold day at Sky Blu: –16ºC and windy [Credit: M C Rose]
Sky Blu: the entire base [Credit G W Evatt]
The mess tent with fresh bread every morning thanks to a breadmaker! [Credit: G W Evatt]
The full array of panels [Credit: M C Rose]
Geoff shows off the fruits of his ice-coring labours [Credit: M C Rose]
Blue sky arrivals and departures at Sky Blu [Credit: G W Evatt]