Friday, May 04, 2007

May 2nd

Our last night in Resolute, April 30th, was far from restful. In addition to packing and other last-minute scurrying, I had to prepare a presentation for Computer Human Interaction (CHI) 2007, one of the biggest conferences in my field. The original plan had been to stream live video from FMARS, but the advance team says that the bandwidth is currently way too low (4200 baud) to even consider it. They hope to have the higher-speed connection up soon, but I couldn’t count on it being ready in time, so I was up until 4:30am preparing a powerpoint with voiceover, which I sent off before hitting the sack for a brief sleep.

At 7:30am, we were at the Polar Continental Shelf Project facility at the airport, loading up the Twin Otter with as much of our gear as the plane could take. There have already been several flights out to the island carrying supplies and the advance team, and there will be several more, but it’s important to make every flight count.

The flight was only about one hour, over a landscape of nothing but white. The first sight of the hab was very exciting! We buzzed it once, so that Paul and James knew to take the snowmobiles out to meet us, then came in to land. When the skis hit the airstrip, the snow splashed up like water, and we quickly slid to a stop. Here we're unloading 600lbs of boxes onto sleds pulled by snowmobiles:

The rest of the day was spent lugging boxes. The advance team has done a wonderful job getting everything ship-shape, but there was a LOT to move in and set up. By the time hit the sack in the bright light of midnight, we were exhausted. I slept for 13 hours, and wasn’t the last one up by far!

The next day was a bit more relaxed, largely because no one but the advance team was up before noon. I ‘presented’ at CHI, and answered questions via the sat phone – seemed to go well. I also set up the Aerogardens with their lettuce kits, started the sprouts and got the breadmaker working – all essentials for the gastronomic happiness of the crew. I’m particularly excited about the Aerogardens. With any luck, we’ll have lovely fresh salad greens in a few weeks!

Some shots of the area around the hab:


Kristin Van Bodegraven said...


Zach T. said...

A programmed, electronic, counter-top garden?! I find that very disturbing for some reason. Still, I suppose it might be like a George Foreman grill--a strange perversion one can quickly come to appreciate. You'll have to let us know how the Aerogarden works outs. :)

Sarah said...

Oh so cool. Do you leave the areogardens behind for the martians when you go? Will you grow pot on mars? Will you smoke up the martians?

Kim Binsted said...

I'll post some pictures of the Aerogardens when they are full of lovely lettuce. They are odd in a way - setting them up my hands didn't even get wet, let alone dirty. It felt more like putting together a kid's toy than planting a garden. In a good way.

Kim Binsted said...

Oh, and yeah, we'll probably have to leave them for the next crew. Aerogrow was kind enough to donate them to the mission, not to me personally. Sadly.

Sarah said...

That was so nice of them!