February, 2005....J. Dana Hrubes...updated February 28, 2005 , 0711 GMT

The last Air Force LC130 aircraft taxis to the skiway on February 15th. This will be the last
flight to the South Pole until October 23

February at the Pole - the beginning of another winter

Since I spent 13 months at the pole in 2003-2004, I was required to leave the ice for a couple of months during the Summer. I flew back down to the pole at the end of January taking the last Air Force C-141 Starlifter to Antarctica.    last C-141 flight (photo by jerry marty)     The C-141 has been replaced by the new C-17 and the C-141s are being decommissioned.      C-141       C-17    The leg room is much better in the C-17      seating on C-141        seating on C-17            I stayed at McMurdo Station on Ross Island for one night and then took a ski-equipped LC-130 to the South Pole.        LC-130 with Mt Erebus, an active volcano, in the background         The single cargo ship of the season was in port at McMurdo Station after an ice breaker cut the path. The ice is too thick  the remainder of the year to bring in ships      McMurdo and the ice breaker in McMurdo Sound   

February at the Pole brings with it the last LC-130 flight and isolation until nearly November and the anticipation of the long dark winter.    good bye       

After living in upper berthing in the dome for over 2 years, I decided to live in the new station. I am in a room on the first floor with a window overlooking the dome, skylab and my antenna field.  The rooms are quite nice and there is no freezer door like the one I had in the dome. It is more like living on a spaceship up in the new station.  It is amazing to actually have a window in my room, although it will be covered for most of the upcoming sunless six months to reduce light contamination to the outside.        I am in the wing closest to the dome      my window       my room   my desk        the view       closer look     even closer look        old berthing in the dome       berthing with freezer doors       my old room in the dome     

Many things happened last Summer, between November and February.     A radome was built around the Satellite antenna to protect it from the harsh environment     antenna and radome     radome complete  (unknown photographer)      The El Dorm was gutted out and was moved from behind the station out to the dark sector to be used for the new ICE CUBE project.      moving El Dorm   moving El Dorm past the new station  (unknown photographer)      The hydroponic greenhouse in the new station is operating.     greenhouse     

South Pole Station getting ready for another long dark cold winter. The geographic South Pole is to the far right. (scroll right) 

Below are some aerial photographs taken by the National Science Foundation. In a year or two the dome and the interior buildings will be gone. Disassembly of the interior buildings has already started. The old galley building and bar are currently being taken apart and removed from the dome. The dome and interior buildings will be shipped back to the States.

aerial photo #1    aerial photo #2     aerial photo #3    the station and the clean air and quiet sector       the entire site     

Outdoor recreational activities at the pole this month included kite flying and snow sculpture near the geographic pole.       kite flying      snow sculpture       

NEXT MONTH:  Sunset at the Pole

       A Real-Time Photo of South Pole Station as Seen from the ARO Building (live when satellite is up)

       A Comprehensive South Pole Web Site by Bill Spindler

     Winterover Web Pages (Bill Spindler's List)