Status Report

Keith Cowing’s Devon Island Journal – 12 July 2007: Dropping Onto Devon Island

By SpaceRef Editor
July 13, 2007
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Click on Image for larger view. Images Copyright 2007

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Approaching the southern shore of Devon Island
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Ice in Lancaster Sound
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Departing the coastline of Cornwallis Island
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Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS) taken from a Twin Otter on final approach
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Quimmiq, our polar bear guard dog, comes up to greet me as I get off of the Twin Otter
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Unloading the Twin Otter – everyone helps
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The “Hub” or “Core” of HMPRS
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Our luggage – and tents – at Tent City
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My home for the next week

I awoke this morning in Resolute Bay, got a quick breakfast, and headed over to the airport for my flight to Devon Island. We took off shortly after our planned 8:30 am departure and made our way aided by brisk tailwinds.

Just after 9:00 am we began the sudden swoop downward toward the airstrip at the Haughton Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS).

After we circled around HMPRS to get the right approach from the east our Twin Otter dropped onto the runway.

And there I was – my third visit to this amazing place.

As I walked down the short road to Base Camp I noticed that the place was amazingly dry and dusty for this early in the field season. Usually things aren’t this parched until the latter part of July.

Given this island’s ability to slam visitors with some really ugly weather days like this – blue skies and pleasant temperatures – are to be savored – and utilized to the greatest extent possible.

After some quick hellos I headed over to Tent City (west of Base Camp) and pitched my tent. After pounding some ultra heavy-duty tent stakes into the recently melted soil, my home for the next 8 days was established.

I then unpacked. Having done this several times before I had things pre-parsed as to “tent” and “work”.

Within a few minutes I was at my assigned desk inside the Hub (central core structure) and surfing away over.

Later I managed to get my iPhone configured and was able to use it (via WiFi) to explore the Internet as well (courtesy of some big dishes up on Satellite Hill).

My team mate Matt Reyes arrived about two hours later. We had him set up and operating in short order as well.

After a couple of great meals from our chef we worked until around 11:00 pm – and then called it a day.

Having not had a decent night’s sleep in several days, I did not need much enticement to fall asleep – despite the bright sunlight outside.

About Devon Island, The Haughton-Mars Project, and the Mars Institute

The Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) is an international interdisciplinary field research project centered on the scientific study of the Haughton impact structure and surrounding terrain, Devon Island, high arctic, viewed as a terrestrial analog for Mars. The rocky polar desert setting, geologic features and biological attributes of the site offer unique insights into the possible evolution of Mars – in particular the history of water and of past climates on Mars, the effects of impacts on Earth and on other planets, and the possibilities and limits of life in extreme environments. In parallel with its science program, the HMP supports an exploration program aimed at developing new technologies, strategies, humans factors experience, and field-based operational know-how key to planning the future exploration of the Moon, Mars and other planets by robots and humans. The HMP managed jointly by the Mars Instituteand by the SETI Institute.

Keith Cowing’s 2007 Devon Island Journals

10 July 2007: Back to the Arctic
11 July 2007: Heading North
12 July 2007: Dropping Onto Devon Island
13 July 2007: Teaching About Roses on Mars
14 July 2007: Using an iPhone on Mars
15 July 2007: Surreal Landscapes and Late Evening Thoughts
16-17 July 2007: Webcasts, Robots, Astronauts, and Dogs
18 July 2007: Ancient Memorials for Modern Space Explorers
19 July 2007: Sheer Audacity
20-22 July 2007: The Persistence of Memory
27 July 2007: Polar Deserts and Global TV

Keith Cowing’s 2003 Devon Island Journals

17 Jun 2003: Preface: Moving from Green to Grey
3 Jul 2003: Waiting in Resolute
3-5 July 2003: Arrival and Getting to Work
6 July 2003: Getting in the Groove
7 July 2003: Part 1: Being here – and being there.
7 July 2003: Part 2: Getting Out of Base Camp
8 July 2003: Infrastructure
9 July 2003: Re-connected; Planting Seeds
17 July 2003: Rover Arrival
18 July 2003: Wind
19 July 2003: Illness, Good Food, and Morale
20 July 2003: Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings
20 July 2003: Going Home
21 July 2003: Departure – and One Last Dedication
24 July 2003: 24 July 2003: Homeward Bound – In Slow Motion
26 August 2003: Home +30

Keith Cowing’s 2002 Devon Island Journals

8 Jul 2002: Arrival
9 Jul 2002: Getting acquainted – and down to work
10 Jul 2002: Mars carpentry
11 Jul 2002: Lexan Kites, shotguns, and Driver’s Ed
12 Jul 2002: Building and exploring
13-15 Jul 2002: Building a Mars greenhouse on Earth
16 Jul 2002: Sealing Greenhouses on Earth – and Mars; 6 Wheeled Rovers
17 Jul 2002: Greenhouse Dedication, Fishing, and Mystery Food
18 Jul 2002: Giving Blood, Eternal Light, and an Evening Commute
19 Jul 2002: The Hottest Place on Devon Island, T-shirts, a Star Trek hello
20 Jul 2002: Mars Airplanes and Communicating With Earth
21 Jul 2002: Visiting ministers, missing ‘green’, and crater tours
22 Jul 2002: The hottest place on Devon Island
23 Jul 2002: Farewells, Birthdays, and Bartering
24 Jul 2002: EVAs, movies – and ‘being here’
25 Jul 2002: Russian TV, webcam privacy, and being on Mars for a few minutes
26 Jul 2002: Cold Feet, Chocolate, and Home Cooking
27 Jul 2002: Anchors and anemometers
28 Jul 2002: Drilling into permafrost; leaving footprints for eternity
29 Jul 2002: Showering near the North Pole; one last look around
30 Jul 2002: Departure and arrival
31 Jul 2002: Culture shock and flight delays
1 Aug 2002: Departure into darkness
2 Aug 2002: Green overdose; home at last
2 Sep 2002: Home +30

SpaceRef staff editor.