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21 June, 2000

We Have Visitors

Happy Solstice. Today was an exciting day at Camp Summit. We got visitors. The New York National Guard conducts maneuvers in Greenland and part of the deal the National Science Foundation (NSF) has made with the Guard is to transport scientists to and from Summit. The National Guard flies a plane called a LC130 Herk. It lands on a snow runway. The plane is enormous and carries most of the scientific equipment, construction equipment and, of course, freshies (fresh veggies and food). The best part of having the Herk here is to watch it take off. Everyone in camp goes out to the runway to watch this event. In order for the Herk to take off, it must fire booster rockets to get the right lift to fly due to its weight, high altitude and the snow covered runway. When the rockets are fired, the smoke encircles the plane and it is a spectacular event. This is the only true excitement we get at Summit. It only happens once every two-three weeks.

It's very exciting when the Herk or Twin Otter arrives because it means that new people are visiting or arriving. Today's new people are members of the media: Jack Williams from USA Today, Alan Hall from Business Weekly, Curt Suplee from the Washington Post, Peter West from NSF and Bob from the National Guard. In addition to these folks whom will only be staying for the night, four Swiss scientists arrived. They will be staying until July 11 when we all leave Camp Summit. The total population has increased from 21 to 28. Not many people but when you share only one bathroom, it seems like thousands. We do have an port-a-john outside but its cold. On the downside of having new people, we run the risk of germs and sickness. We are so isolated that any germ could cause a major problem to our healthy community.

In preparation for their arrival, the camp was in cleanup mode, parcticularly the Main House. Snow was pushed around and piles were flattened. Even the weather cooperated. The sky was clear, relatively warm (-18C) and windless. This is another day in paradise.

Science was suspended, at least for the evening. After their arrival and a great dinner, Dr. Jack Dibb gave a research talk about the collaborative science research being conducted here. After the talk, we broke into informal groups and the media interviewed us. I spoke to several of them because I am sort of an anomaly here. Since my purpose is to experience the Camp while working with Koni, I do have the opportunity to migrate around and work with other scientists. I gave a different perspective on the Camp and the media is very interested in this perspective.

They will be leaving tomorrow on a Twin Otter and until that time, Camp Summit will be in disorder. After that, it's back to science.

Ciao, Cathi

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