Thursday, October 25, 2007

Strange Vehicles in Antarctica!

Do you think that an average car would work well in Antarctica? McMurdo Station is on a volcanic island called Ross Island. The “roads” are made up of ground-up rock, sometimes covered by ice and snow. The vehicles also drive out over the sea ice and ice shelves. Here is a glimpse of some Antarctic vehicles.

This is a Delta. Deltas are used to travel over ice an snow. The trailer on the back is used to carry people or cargo. This is the vehicle I traveled in to go out to Happy Camper School. Notice the big treads on the bottom to help the Delta grip the ice and snow!

This is a bulldozer. They are driving around the streets of McMurdo Station ALL the time! They carry materials from one place to another, and often transport different kinds of waste materials to their proper location. All waste is transported off the continent, and it all needs to be sorted.

This machine is called a Caterpillar. It has many different uses depending on what attachments are put on the front. This one looks like it was just plowing snow.

A haglund is a really cool vehicle. It is actually amphibious - meaning that it can float on water! This is a great vehicle to take out on the sea ice, in case the ice breaks through into the sea water below. The front haglund holds up to 6 people. The trailer on the back can carry people or cargo. This is the vehicle I took out to Sea Ice School.

In and around McMurdo Station, you can often see helicopters (helos) flying around transporting people or equipment. There are different sizes of helicopters, each of which has a different carrying capacity. The ANDRILL cores are carried from the drill site to the Crary Lab by helicopter. They are also used to carry people and supplies out into the field, for Search and Rescue missions, to do reconaissance flights trips prior to departure of a field party, and many other missions. I will be flying in a helicopter tomorrow to get out to my field area, around 100 miles away.

Pisten Bullys are very important vehicles in Antarctica. They are very stable on the sea ice, and many field parties use them for travel. The only problem is, they are extremely bumpy and noisy, and they go very slowly. It takes a long time to get anywhere in a pisten bully, and when you get there, your body is all shaken up!

Here is a cool picture of the gears in a pisten bully.

Many vehicles in Antarctica get plugged in to keep them warm while they are not being used. That sure makes it easier to step inside and start them!!

This is an enormous forklift - the biggest on in McMurdo.This is the forklift that picked up our Thunder Sled which weighed at least 2,500 pouds, and carried it down to the sea ice for the aover-ice travers to our field area,. It's a huge, strong vehicle.Check out how big these wheels are!

Imagine riding in this vehicle. It is called a terrabus and it holds a lot of people and transports them over the land, or over the ice.

Finally, here is a snowmobile. I can't wait to get out onto the open ice and drive a snowmobile. It is the only vehicle I am trained to drive here - I actually had to go to Snowmobile School for a day! I haven't driven one yet this trip, but I expect to as soon as I get out into the field.

Which is YOUR favorite vehicle?

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