TEA Banner
TEA Navbar

27 October, 2003

My Last Balloon Flight in Antarctica

Time flies by, and the ozone season is over. The ozone will replenish itself as daylight strikes the stratosphere. Chlorine atoms our parents released into the stratosphere unfortunately will remain there for at least another twenty years. They will continue each spring to attack ozone and all who are under this atmospheric hole shall be subject to the dangers of UV light exposure. It is a problem that would have been catastrophic had scientists not alerted government leaders who enacted laws to protect our planet. It is a true scientific success story and now I can say I was a part of it. This story is a reminder to all that environmental vigilance is essential to our survival as we continue engineering our planet.

Today I spent time with Marianne who works with the B15 iceberg group. We experimented with a strain gauge that would in principle measure any movement of the ice shelf. It was a genuinely good time to be out on the shelf digging away though I was a bit skeptical that this instrument would work.

Later we launched my last balloon flight in Antarctica. It was pleasant to watch it ascend into the beauty of the blue sky.

Tomorrow marks my last day here. A full two and one half months after I began, I shall fly back to Oregon to see the green again. Before I leave I shall go up Ob Hill and listen to the glaciers talk.

Shoveling a hole for the strain gauge post. It is the best day yet!

Marianne wiring the instrument.

The radar unit sends radio waves to the bottom of the ice shelf. They reflect there and the scope picks up the length of time it takes for the reflection to be received. From this the depth of the shelf is determined.

We worked with the plume of Erebus a short distance away.

A bunch of furry friends huddling at the balloon launch. I wonder what they are thinking?

Oh no! The Physics Penguin decided to go for a balloon ride!

My last balloon in Antarctica lofts gently into the beautiful blue sky.

Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.