Searching for answers to what happens in a supernova from the bottom of the Earth
Monday, December 5, 2011
are probably aware that it is from this area that Robert Falcon Scott
started his epic failure of a journey into the heart of Antarctica in
his quest to be first to the South Pole. The place is practically
littered with huts of gear and food that his expedition left behind.
There is one hut about 500 yards from downtown McMurdo, on appropriately
named Hut Point. This hut was put there during an early joint expedition of Scott and Shackleton. The site is protected, and is only occasionally open
for tours. I took one of these this yesterday, and have some photos of the
inside to share.
hut is a prefab unit Scott purchased in Australia. It was designed to
keep people cool in the outback. The first thing that you notice as you
walk in is how incredibly funky the smell is. The next thing you
notice is how it looks like hardly anything has happened since Scott
left. There are seal bodies and sheep carcasses that have been preserved in the cold dry
weather here, like the Chilean Andes mummies. There are boxes and boxes
of dog biscuits, some clothing hanging out to dry, and shelves full of
tinned chocolate, tea, meats, and other foodstuffs.
area around McMurdo is also littered with crosses commemorating those
who gave their lives here for one reason or another. The cross on Hut
Point is for George Vince, the doctor in Scott's expedition, who was
last seen walking across the sea ice, but never arrived. He probably
fell through a hole and drowned. Another cross, on top of Ob Hill, is
for Scott himself, and has the famous quote from Tennyson, "To strive,
to seek, to find, and not to yield" engraved on it. Yet another cross
memorializes a young man named Williams, who was driving a tractor
hauling supplies in from a Navy vessel during the establishment of
McMurdo Station and fell through the sea in 350 fathoms of water. His
body was never recovered, nor was the tractor. Now Williams Field (aka Willy Field), the smaller ice airfield for smaller planes near LDB, is named for him. Call me crazy, but I would rather not be immortalized for getting killed.