September, 2001
updated: October 1, 2001; 12:00 GMT

The American flag on the dome was placed at half mast following the September attack on the US [photo by Chris Martin]

The shock of the September 11 attack on the US was felt strongly here at the pole. We followed all the news over the internet and shortwave (HF) radio. I have been able to listen to the Voice of America, the BBC and many other stations with news of the events as they unfolded with the exception of this weekend in which we experienced a very large polar cap absorption event caused by a large solar flare blocking HF radio communications. We had an all hands meeting to discuss the attack and set the flag atop the dome to half mast.      flag at half mast [photo by C. Martin]      

Well.....the sun finally rose on September 22 after 6 months. Although it is nice to see the sun again, I will miss the darkness, the beautiful auroras, stars, planets and satellites. The temperatures are still low this time of year. We were in the -90's F last week and today was near -80 F and winds up to 30 mph so the weather is still rather rough. The sunlight brings thoughts of getting ready to wrap up the year. There are many things to do and it is getting very busy. We must prepare the station for the opening and the first plane, many of us must write final reports and get ready to transition replacements as they arrive next month. For me, this means getting data ready for retrograde shipment, updating 10 Standard Operating Procedures and general laboratory organization. Late in October, everyone who lives in the dome will have to move out into the Jamesways in Summer Camp to make room for the new people. After a transition period of a week to 10 days, I will leave the ice for Christchurch, New Zealand in early November. It will be sad to leave all of the friends I have made here.

Sunrise Photos
  arches and dome [A. Coy]       sunrise [C. Martin]            me, the dome and skylab

South Pole Station                 caterpillar                               dome entrance            dome entrance drifted

Other  Station Photos
Mary in skylab under-ice escape tunnel          dave and jake with the cat [A. Coy]            Jami in front of the elevated dormitory          back side of dome [J.Kietzmann]           marisat antenna[J.Kietzmann]              Jack Nicolson at MAPO

I celebrated my 48th birthday at the pole during the last week of September. Mary and Jami built me a great "rocket ship" birthday cake because of my previous work in rocket engineering. Jami also assembled a great birthday card with lots of photos. I also got some great e-mail, photos and even a birthday video clip from the States.
cake makers presenting me with my cake         

Some people ask where we get our water. We melt ice. The main water supply comes from the "Rod well". Heated water is pumped down under the ice into a cavern formed by melt water which is removed. This cavern gets larger as water is consumed. The current well is near the end of its service life and is about 390 feet deep. When the well becomes too deep to work or freezes over internally, then another is built. These wells can last a decade. Other water for summer camp and hypertats is made from snow melters which at each individual site.    Rod well building        inside Rod well building

LIVE VIDEO of the Station
live video image of the station taken from the Atmospheric Research Laboratory is provided by NOAA/CMDL . It is only current when the communication satellites are in view. For satellite times see the south pole web site .

Also visit the "Save the Dome Website" . The dome is scheduled to be removed once the new station is built and many people would like to see it saved and relocated somewhere in the U.S.

NEXT MONTH..............First Aircraft Landing

            The South Pole Web Site    (only available when one of the satellites is up, about 9-12 hours per day)

            Other Interesting Links


Back to: Bi-POLAR PAGE