Dale Andersen's Field Reports

Dale Andersen’s Astrobiology Antarctic Status Report: 9 October 2022: This Year’s Research At Lake Untersee Antarctica

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Dale Andersen
November 2, 2022
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Dale Andersen’s Astrobiology Antarctic Status Report: 9 October 2022: This Year’s Research At Lake Untersee Antarctica
Lake Untersee
Dale Andersen

Sun, 9 Oct 2022 4:09 PM

Hi Keith, my current schedule (along with a few other details) is:

Departing for Cape Town next Saturday (15th) afternoon, arrival in Cape Town late Sunday night the 16th. We have a pre-flight briefing on the 17th or 18th, and are scheduled to depart for the ALCI ice-runway on the morning of the 19th (local CPT time which is UTC+2).

Hope to be at the ALCI facility on the 20th (time there and Untersee are UTC) and then depending on weather and logistics head to the lake 2-3 days later. We have to get organized once we are on the ice, pulling some gear and snowmobiles from storage, getting the snowmobiles and sleds ready for the traverse, working with ALCI to get the tracked vehicle (Prinoth Everest) and the cargo sleds packed and ready to go with our fuel, propane, cargo etc. (image below)

Once at the lake it usually takes us about three days to get the camp set up. We make wooden platforms using plywood and boards we bring along so we can keep our tents on the ice near the shore. The glacial till is pretty rocky and offers very few spots for tents, so it is easier (and less impact) to keep the camp on the lake ice. And, we can easily tie the platforms and tents into the ice using deep (50+ cm) V-notches through which we pass the tent guy lines. The wooden platforms insulate the tents from the ice and also prevents any melting. The tents we are using consist of:

Weatherhaven Endurance tents – 8x16ft and 8×21 ft.
The 8×16 ft tents are used as individual tents for the field team members, the two larger 8x21ft tents are used for lab tents. (image below)

A Mountain Hardwear Stronghold Tent is used as our cook tent which also serves as a place to come in during the day to warm up, have meals, trade notes among team members, check mail (via Iridium) etc. (image below)

We also have two 8×10 ft WeatherPort shelters. One is used as the dive tent for storing/drying diving equipment between dives and a place to store and work with the small DeepTrekker ROV (Revolution NAV) (image below)

I also use this area to store and work with other “wet” items such as the YSI Exo2 Multiparameter Sonde (“EXO Multiparameter Sondes — the best-in-class platform for the highest quality data. EXO’s dynamic range of smart sensors provide comprehensive multiparameter water quality data while SmartQC ensures proper calibrations and top sensor performance.”) (image below)

and RBRconterto (C.T.D. plus light – “Our flexible, option-packed, loggers dedicated to salinity and more – 240M readings, Standard sampling up to 1Hz, Up to 32Hz sampling, USB-C download, Realtime communications, Twist activation, Wi-Fi ready”) (image below)

We have four snowmobiles – BRP Lynx Commanders. Three of these are advanced 2-stroke engines, the fourth is a 4-stroke. They are all great machines and have served us well. (image below)

More soon, will send you tracking links etc once we head south.


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻