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15 March, 2002

AHH! Departure time from North Carolina and the beginning of my Alaska Science experience finally arrived. I was able to release a big sigh of relief as I positioned myself on the airplane. Seven months of planning, packing and educating myself was finally over!!!! Ready or not, I was on my way to Alaska.

I met up with Glen Liston and Matthew Sturm at the airport in Fairbanks and we immediately began plans for the traverse. We zoomed over to CRREL, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory at Fort Wainwright. One of the key pieces of equipment on the trip is a heated sled that was designed and constructed by Jon Holmgren. Jon has been working on the sled diligently for the past two months and the masterpiece is finally finished. This sled will be pulled behind the snowmachines. It is very crucial to the scientific work on the traverse. There will be much data collected daily from the snow measurements. A warm place is needed to work on the computers. Computers, as everything do not work in the extreme cold! The sled is heated by a propane heater from a RV such as a camper! The propane bottles will sit on the front of the sled and will be tied in snuggly. The heater also has a fan that is battery controlled. The battery is charged by solar panels on the sled. These solar panels also supply power to the electric outlets inside the sled. These electric outlets are used to hook up computers and other equipment up that require electricity. The sled even has a fold-up table and chairs. This enables up to four people to sit snuggly inside of the sled. The sled is able to maintain an inside temperature of 50 degrees for the entire trip! It is insulated by bubble wrap with foil on both sides and is then covered by an insulated, thick, white canvas. The SnowSTAR sled is an amazing invention by Jon!!

The SnowSTAR 2002 expedition will be well equipped!!!

Jon and his masterpiece!

A view of inside the heated sled! Pretty cozy!

SnowSTAR 2002 Heated Sled!

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