5 December, 2002
This is Carl Allen, writing for Andy (Mr. Caldwell to his students) who is busy at the moment setting up camp in the Frozen South. Yes, on the fourth day the skies over McMurdo cleared and the planes and pilots were ready. The first four members of the Search Team – John, Jamie, Dante and Danny – flew out this morning on a ski-equipped LC-130 cargo plane. After a two-hour flight to the Transantarctic mountains the team and their cargo were dropped at the Beardmore ice runway. This afternoon the plane returned to McMurdo and lifted the rest of the Team – Nancy, Linda, Scott and Andy – to the mountains.
Yes, it really does take two big cargo planes to support an 8-person team here. These folks are planning to live and work on the ice, hundreds of miles from anybody else, for six weeks (longer if the weather turns bad). At a minimum they need: over 400 lbs of food each, stoves and fuel to melt ice and cook the food for seven weeks, heavy down sleeping bags with pads, loads of cold weather clothing, four big tents, eight snowmobiles with fuel, ten sledges, gear for rescue, first aid, communication, and posting to this website. This is what it takes to support science on the edge in Antarctica.
The plan is for the Search Team to unload their two planeloads of gear and camp near the dropoff point tonight. Tomorrow they are due to pack everything on sledges, hitch up their snowmobiles, and drive all day to the first meteorite collecting site. If all goes according to plan, the 2002-2003 Antarctic Search for Meteorites will actually start tomorrow.
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