A Skype Chat and Tour With Astrobiologist Dale Andersen on Axel Heiberg Island

Editor's note: I got an email from astrobiologist Dale Andersen (@daleandersen on Twitter) just before 8 pm EDT tonight telling me to get on Skype. Dale is currently working at the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS) on Axel Heiberg Island with MARS Director Wayne Pollard. Within a few moments we had an amazingly good connection with excellent picture quality. CSA provides the communications capacity for MARS along with the hut they are in next to the Crusoe glacier.

Dale picked up his Macbook and used its webcam to give me a tour inside the hut and then went outside to give me a view of the surrounding terrain. The conversation went just fine for around 10 minutes until, as Dale warned me, the connection died because the generator powering the satellite dish ran out of fuel. Dale also twittered this evening that he and Wayne Pollard were able to view NASA's video of the STS-119 fly around of the ISS - in full screen hi def.

Read these status reports from 12 and 16 April 2008 for more about the MARS satellite communications system.

This just goes to show you what you can do with off the shelf technology so as to enable interactions between folks at home and scientists located at remote research outposts. More screen grabs below.

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