Status Report

AMASE blog – August 8: Science in NyAlesund

By SpaceRef Editor
August 10, 2009
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AMASE blog – August 8: Science in NyAlesund

by Adrienne Kish

There were dark circles under many eyes and not a few sore shoulders today from the ice coring team after returning from the glacier very late last night carrying 35 Kg of ice and metal each. The good news is that the 24hr daylight makes the long hikes back at midnight easier to navigate! We are busy trying to finish up science analyses of the cores in anticipation of the arrival of the Lance with the rest of the AMASE crew late tomorrow night. It will be good to see everyone again and head off to the fjords in the north of Spitsbergen to the field sites there.

Meanwhile the goddess rover Athena underwent some cataracts surgery in an attempt to fix some vision issues with the cameras. Right now she requires guide dogs (or in this case rocket scientists) to point her in the right direction. With good luck and some engineering marvels by the JPL rover team, she’ll be ready for deployment after transport by the Lance to the field sites.

We are all signing off for the night now after a nightcap at the bar at the top of the world with fellow NyAlesund staff and visiting scientists. It’s quite amazing to meet these people from all over the world and find out how they ended up this close to the north pole to do research of every kind. For example, we even had to shut off all our wireless or Bluetooth devices here due to science investigations using those frequencies. There are groups of Indians, Koreans, Americans, French, Norwegians, Brits, and more all with research buildings here. NyAlesund really is just a collection of the various dorm buildings, the research houses for each permanent group here, a rec building with a gym and lounge, a tiny post office, a shop that opens when a tourist ship arrives, the mess hall, and the Marinlab. And the bar that is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for everyone to come together and unwind in a small room with blackout curtains to give the feel that it’s night outside if you can ignore the broad daylight streaking into the room every time someone walks into the door. Tomorrow we load up the Lance and resupply those of us staying a bit longer in NyAlesund, so for now it is time for blindfolds and ear plugs and sweet dreams of fjords and glaciers…..

SpaceRef staff editor.