- Press Release
- March 8, 2023
Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report: Seeking The Road Less Traveled
On Wednesday I hit the road and start making my way to Antarctica via Cape Town, South Africa. My team and I will arrive in Cape Town on Thursday, and weather and aircraft permitting, we will depart for the ice runway at Novolazarevskaya in Queen Maud Land on Tuesday the 29th.
Once we arrive in Antarctica we have a few days of preparation, organizing and repacking cargo before making the traverse to Lake Untersee. Three of us will make the traverse using snowmobiles (three Skandic® SWT 550F snowmobiles with SIGLIN Sleds), three other team members will accompany our cargo that goes out by tracked vehicle (Everest) pulling several large sleds.
The route we take is about 125 km across the continental ice, a mix of snow, blue ice and crevasses. Depending on weather and snow conditions, it will take the three of us on the snowmobiles about 6 hours to reach the lake, with Everest following behind, arriving at Untersee several hours later.
The traverse is always interesting and the conditions can be pretty variable with anything from bright, sunny skies and 20-50 kt winds, to flat light and/or complete white out, or a mix of all of the above along the way. I like it best when we have some overcast, contrast is good, winds not too high and visibility is 20-30 km or more. We will see what we get this year!