Tony Hansen in Antarctica 

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On my trips to Antarctica I have sent back a journal, digital pictures and video clips to record my impressions.  I had read about the heroic early explorers, and had looked at plenty of glossy picture books: but what I wanted to record were my on-the-spot impressions, not only of the predictable awe-insiring nature of Antarctica but also what it felt like as a person being processed through a quasi-military system.  My journal entries were written on the spot, sent by e-mail and not edited afterwards.  Some of it now looks naive, some of my initial impressions were clearly incomplete, but this is what it felt like.  I welcome your comments - please send e-mail.

I traveled to the South Pole for the first time in 1997 to install pollution measuring instruments ("Aethalometers") for a National Science Foundation project. Power and heat at Antarctic research stations are produced by diesel generators and oil-fired boilers: the environmental impact of this smoke on the very fragile Antarctic ecosystems had never been assessed. In 1998, I returned again for further studies of the exposure of cargo operators to aircraft exhaust fumes. In 1999, I returned to continue studies of the levels of pollution that accumulate inside the tightly-sealed buildings. On the second and third trips, I also took a video camera and prepared some short MPEG-format video clips which are linked to the pages.

In late 2000 I made my first trip to the McMurdo Dry Valleys.  This is a unique ecosystem in which life survices under extremely cold, dry, highly stressed and nutrient-poor conditions.  It is hypothesized that these conditions under which life exists on Earth may be a parallel to possible conditions on the planet Mars.  Scientists have been studying this area for several decades .. but they have been heating and powering their camps with kerosene and diesel, and flying in by helicopter.  The exhaust from this fuel combustion may lead to an irreversible and deleterious effect on the extremely fragile environment.  My project for the seasons 2000, 2001 and 2002 is to set up equipment to detect the presence of exhuast pollution in this area.  Read on ....

My Electronic Journal

For all of the images, we made a thumbnail (small) image for the text page. You can click on them to view the full-size picture if you wish. This is to help those who may have slow modem connections. If you still experience unacceptable access delays, please send me email -- I will prepare some text-only pages (with links to the images).
The images sent back from Antarctica by Tony were captured using the KODAK DIGITAL SCIENCE DC50 zoom camera.
All of the movie clips were captured with the Video Sphinx Pro.



Other Antarctica Information

There is lots of information about Antarctica on the Web, including similar journals of other scientists who have worked there.
Click here for a complete list of Web links which we have come across.

Featured sites of interest:

I really want to thank Tod Flak for all his work on this Web project last year. He set up these pages and was my contact for receiving transmitted material from Antarctica and posting it. Garry Rose and Jeff Blair have now taken over the job and are apart of the engineering group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: we make robotics and automation for biotechnology research projects. Click *here* to see a summary of our work and instruments. We have a great boss too! - we like our work and we encourage all younger people to study science, engineering and computers.

The images sent back from Antarctica by Tony were captured using the KODAK DIGITAL SCIENCE DC50 zoom camera.
The movie (mpeg) clips were captured using the Video Sphinx Pro.

Prepared by Tony Hansen  ; last updated 14 November 2000