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Frozen Researchers Set Antarctic Ballooning Record

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the hope-you-like-penguins dept.

NASA 35

coondoggie writes to mention NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have announced a new record in the history of scientific ballooning in Antarctica. The new record was established by 'launching and operating three long-duration sub-orbital flights simultaneously within a single southern-hemisphere summer'. "The milestone is significant, as it occurs during the height of the International Polar Year (IPY), a coordinated scientific campaign that is utilizing scientists from more than 60 nations. NSF is the lead federal agency for IPY, which began in March 2007 and will continue until 2009 to allow for two full years of observations and field work in parts of the world that are generally uninhabitable for as long as six months each year, researchers said. "

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Blagofaire (5, Funny)

Ryukotsusei (1164453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21919684)

Was Cory Doctorow [xkcd.com] on one of the balloons?

Orbit (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21919724)

launching and operating three long-duration sub-orbital flights

How much ballooning is done in orbit?

Re:Orbit (2, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21919744)

Bigelow Aerospace has had a 3rd scale model flying for a while and is getting ready to go full size with their inflatables.

Umm... not BALLOONS, though (1)

untree (851145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922120)

Bigelow's habitats are just satellites that expand a little when they are released... not actual high-altitude balloons.

Re:Orbit (1)

thedeadswiss (573599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932216)

... and is getting ready to go full size with their inflatables.

TMI

Welcome to slashdong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21919756)

Suck it long and suck it hard.

Frozen Researchers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21919856)

... Frozen Researchers...

I sure hope they thaw them out before they leave Antarctica.

Ya know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21919918)

I object to the idea of frozen people breaking a record.

NSF is my favourite agency. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21919926)

The Nigger-Stopping Force has done some really good work this decade. Stopping the nigs and so on. It's really quite impressive.

Which isn't to say that there aren't plenty of niggers out there waiting to be stopped, mind you.

come on... (1)

chaos421 (531619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21919932)

you'd think scientists from over 60 countries could get more than a couple balloons to fly, even in antarctica.

Re:come on... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21919950)

Launching a balloon through the CSBF is a surprisingly difficult process. Numerous test flights are needed (usually stateside) and actually transporting the payload to the ice is an arduous process. This isn't even mentioning any work that needs to be done on the ice.

The lifetime to get such a project to the ice and launched is on the order of years, barring any major problems.

Frost post (2, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21919994)

I thought that the problem was that frost accumulated on the balloon too readily, so it is not as easy as one might think.

Re:come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21920056)

They are all frozen remember, they probably can't move a lot.

Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidentally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21920080)

Someone mentioned the other day about one of the LRBs coming over the station unexpectedly.

I'm just happy for the running water, here in this cushy city. I live at the South Pole, where it's really challenging.

Fortunately, we have a good supply of pesto and chevre to last us for a while. Running low on pinot, however.

Re:Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidental (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21920134)

How is the skiing at this time of year? Its 40 C in Melbourne. Must be sunny down your way as well.

Re:Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21921386)

Awesome. Yet another "OMG I'm in Antarctica RIGHT NOW and reading Slashdot!!! I'm soooo awesome!!! LOL" post.

There's running water at Pole too, you're just limited to using it much less than at McMurdo. Really challenging? The new station's pretty damn comfortable if you ask me. It can't be too bad down there this year if your main worries are running out of cheese and wine and it's still only summer. "Challenging" indeed. sigh.

Re:Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21927424)

Awesome. Yet another "OMG I'm in Antarctica RIGHT NOW and reading Slashdot!!! I'm soooo awesome!!! LOL" post.

There's running water at Pole too, you're just limited to using it much less than at McMurdo. Really challenging? The new station's pretty damn comfortable if you ask me. It can't be too bad down there this year if your main worries are running out of cheese and wine and it's still only summer. "Challenging" indeed. sigh.
YHBT, Fingee!

I live at Pole, I know all about the shower situation (which is why I took at 15 minute one today; I won't be able to do that on Thursday).

In reality, my main worries are burning to a crisp in a fuel fire, then lying on the ice until I expire in the elements. Or of being lost in -200F windchill in zero visibility and ending up dead mere feet from safety. Or, worse, of letting something like the above happen to someone else, and living with it.

So, while we do love the great food and culture of Pole life, the realities are definite and not to be fscked with. Sttion life isn't hard at all. Surviving a winter locked up with Dark Penguin might be a challenge, though! j/k E.D.

I ran the McMurdo Scott's Hut Race this morning, and I am gonna hurl.

Re:Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21929056)

YHBT, Fingee!

I live at Pole, I know all about the shower situation (which is why I took at 15 minute one today; I won't be able to do that on Thursday).

In reality, my main worries are burning to a crisp in a fuel fire, then lying on the ice until I expire in the elements. Or of being lost in -200F windchill in zero visibility and ending up dead mere feet from safety. Or, worse, of letting something like the above happen to someone else, and living with it.

So, while we do love the great food and culture of Pole life, the realities are definite and not to be fscked with. Sttion life isn't hard at all. Surviving a winter locked up with Dark Penguin might be a challenge, though! j/k E.D.

Fingee! LOL Sounds like you have not yet wintered there, you misrepresent the station's plumbing situation, and you hurl the term FNG around? Hilarious.

Well, Mr. FNG Troll, enjoy your stay in McMurdo and have a fine winter. Make sure you get Dark Penguin to show you the dark art of playing air bass by midwinter.

Re:Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21929130)

Wow, you sure seem testy. Must be because of all of the substandard chow you're given. ;-D

I didn't misrepresent anything, dewd. I said that I was happy to have unlimited hot water to use and abuse. I take 3x1-minute showers a week at Pole. To have a 10 minute shower is a luxury. How is that misrepresentation?

The Penguin is sitting here, and in fact played air bass in Gallagher's the other night. You've definitely been around.

Yes, I am a fingee winterover virgin. What's your point?

Come to the back table of the coffeehouse and buy me a drink. ;-D

Re:Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21929590)

Well, maybe I read too much into what you were saying. Sorry, I thought you were trying to imply that there was no running water there. Life at pole is rough, I can attest to that, but not that rough :)

Luckily I'm nowhere near Mactown. That filthy zoo is a necessary evil for little more than getting to one of the most beautiful places on earth and, as you've noted, taking outrageously long showers just because you can.

Have a good winter, sincerely.

Re:Reading this in McMurdo 155 kiosk, coincidental (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21929794)

Cheers, Mate.

There's no need for disagreement. You clearly understand the program, and the environs.

I appreciate the good wishes. The "weirdness factor" is why I cam down here. I'm interested in the transformation of self that will happen when the sky goes dark. I'm interested in whom I will become during the long night.

This has been an interesting encounter. Here in the Coffeehouse, we've been wondering if you were on station or not. Feel free to send me email to bouldergeek at g mail, if you have interest. I'd like to hear your story.

Me, I'm mere moments away from Toasty. ;-D

Perceptive VW= "aggrieve"

IceCREAM (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21920136)

From TFA

The key payloads this winter were: The University of Maryland's Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass (CREAM) payload which was launched on Dec. 19
I'll bet many a bad joke came out of that.

Scientist 1:"Hey, we have the Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass in Antarctica. Its ice-CREAM!"

Scientist 2: "Shut the hell up, Bob."

"Frozen"? "Researchers?" (3, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21920332)

The launch crew was working in full summer daylight, temperatures between 20 and 33 F.
The telemetry team is in Palestine Texas. Actually the night temperatures there were about the same as Antarctica the last couple days. The researchers, though, are at their respective institutions. No researchers were frozen during the making of TFA.

Re:"Frozen"? "Researchers?" (2, Interesting)

tpheiska (1145505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21920588)

That would be between about 0 to -7 C for the rest of the world.
HTH. HAND.

Re:"Frozen"? "Researchers?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21922866)

I agree the frozen part is stupid, but the outside temps are more like 0 to 35 F at McMurdo during the time they do the work. With the colder temps being well before launch when all the equipment is being setup and tested.

Re:"Frozen"? "Researchers?" (1)

Xandu (99419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21923204)

I'm sure some of the researchers are at McMurdo, and haven't yet gone home to their respective institutions.

I was there last year to help launch BLAST [blastexperiment.info] , which was up in the air at the same time as two other experiments, ANITA [wikipedia.org] and SBI [jhuapl.edu] . Wait, that's also 3 simultaneous experiments. Weird record. I guess they didn't count SBI last year since it has pointing issues and they terminated the flight within 12 hours since it was unable to get any science. I felt bad for them. But there were 3 balloons up at the same time (that was a first for Antarctica).

Isn't 'sub-orbital' a little unnecessary? (1)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21920928)

I mean, an orbital balloon flight would be a real first, not to mention a bit frightening.

Ballooning (1)

noaaguy (1213188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21921054)

Tax dollars well spent?

On to mars (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922522)

It is time to consider how to do something like this for mars. So far, we either have orbiters, stationary landers or a couple of slow moving rovers. A ballon or a set of wings would allow us to look around a great deal more. If by balloon, we could map at far better resolution.

Re:On to mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21925210)

I'm sure terraforming the martian atmosphere into one thick enough for ballooning to be possible is the cheapest and most practical way to "look around"...

Quart in a pint pot (2, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21922638)

International Polar Year (IPY) [...] began in March 2007 and will continue until 2009

Is this another of those NASA metric thingies?

Re:Quart in a pint pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21924612)

Maybe its a mars year

Re:Quart in a pint pot (1)

CraigParticle (523952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21927198)

It certainly is a bit of a misnomer, but the idea is to give researchers in both the Arctic and Antarctic two full summer/winter cycles to conduct their research under the blanket of the IPY. A single annual cycle is a bit restrictive for a lot of programs.

You can read more about the IPY here: http://www.ipy.org/ [ipy.org]

A lot of researchers are using the International Polar Year to springboard new projects that will begin, or continue, long past 2009. In fact, we hope to be one of those three groups launching an Antarctic balloon... in 2010. Our gondola will have a 0.8-meter far-infrared telescope that will try to understand how material in space cycles between stars and gas -- the "life cycle of interstellar matter". It's a part of our own story, since we are born from that material! (cue Carl Sagan here)

So a few IPY research programs won't be studying Polar regions specifically, but rather using them as unique platforms from which to study the Universe.

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