Every day I go for a 30-45 minute ride (only ~ 7 miles) from McMurdo Station out the the Long Duration Ballooning site (LDB). I spend so much time on various forms of transportation that I thought you might like to know about them. Certainly getting around on snow and ice takes a special kind of machine, so there are some real interesting ways to get around town here. Some of the vehicles are from the original establishment of the base in the 50’s. They built them to last then. Here are pictures and descriptions.
|Ice pressure ridges near the Transition.|
|Ivan the Terrabus|
Snowmobiles– no doubt you have seen these before.
|Tractor pulling a helium tank|
|Yours truly on snowmobile|
4 wheelers – the LDB crew could not live without theirs during my last visit. They have little sleds they haul stuff behind.
Planes and helicopters – The C130’s and LC130’s (in air) haul passengers and cargo (the L means it has skis AND wheels). The are operated by both the “Kiwi” (New Zealand) Air Force and the New York wing of the US Air National Guard. I came in on a C17 this time, and a C130 the first time. The C17 Globemasters are operated by the US. There are also planes called Twin Otters (on ice in photo below), which go to field camps deep in Antarctica because they can take off and stop on a dime, and helicopters, for nearby drops. They are piloted by Canadians.
|C130 in the air; Twin Otter on the ground in front of a tractor.|
Icebreakers and research vessels: I toured both the research vessel (Nathaniel B Palmer) and the icebreaker (Swedish icebreaker Oden) in January 2008. These are both highly specialized big boats. You should be able to find a lot of information about them on the web.
|Nathaniel B Palmer|