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6 December, 2002

Final Preparations, Take 2

Date: 12/06/02

Latitude: 80 degrees South

Longitude: 120 degrees West

Temperature: -16C/ 3F

Wind speed: 6 knots

Wind Chill: -23C/ -9F

Wind direction: Northeast

Visibility: flawless

Conditions: Clear, sunny and warm

Meters of ice collected: 71m

By Jim Laatsch

Today we started getting everything shipshape for our second try at the pole. Despite the odd feeling of dj vu everyone pitched in to get ready to depart Byrd. Lynn and Carl once again amazed us with their ability to perform mechanical works of wonder. They were able to change the tracks on the formerly narrow-tracked challenger to wider tracks that will allow us to pull better in the deep snow. This was no small feat and involved jacking the tractor up and using the forklift on the other Challenger to help remove the old tracks and replace them with new ones. Each of these tracks weighs nearly a ton and this is a difficult task even in a properly equipped garage. Carl and Lynn (with the notable assistance of Dan and Brian) were able to accomplish this in the middle of Antarctica exposed to the elements and with out anything but the most basic of tools. Remarkable! Perhaps the most impressive part of the whole thing was that they finished in only a few hours when we had been expecting this job to take about two days. Thanks chiefly to the skill of these two we should be ready to depart Byrd Surface Camp tomorrow afternoon. Betsy and Markus have been burning the midnight oil, well actually the sun is still up at midnight, but nonetheless they are working late finishing off the chemistry measurements for Byrd so that they too will be ready to depart tomorrow. The rest of the team spent the time getting the science equipment ready for the trip and pitching in around camp, so tomorrow we'll be ready to roll.

--

April M. Metz

Web Designer/Coordinator

Department of Earth Science

Rice University

P. O. Box 1892

Mail Stop 126

6100 Main Street

Keith-Wiess Geological Laboratories

Office 318

ametz@rice.edu

713-348-2356


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