Saturday, November 21, 2009

Boy, are my arms not tired.

See this plane. See how it's wheels are on the ground? That's not a good thing. For me, at least.
That's KU's Chris Allen at the door. For the last month-plus the electrical engineering professor has headed a team flying on the NASA DC-8 that's been mapping ice on and around Antarctica. They've packed the plane with leading-edge radars capable of a dizzying array of measurements that can penetrate kilometers deep into the surface. That lets them figure out how high the ice is, and how deep it is -- sorting out where the ice stops and the ground begins.
Because the bevy of sensors needs clear skies to make its measurements, clear weather has been key. And they've been lucky, even adding flights to their mission because the gods were kind.
But final extra flights when I arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, this week got postponed once, twice and finally, this morning scrubbed for good. So my hopes for flying over the continent were dashed.
The various logisitic and scientific crews weren't terribly bummed. They're worn out and now they can get a head start on packing up for the ride home.
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