Antarctica – What’s it really like?

Cold! And more, as described by NASA’s Eric Christian, a scientist who spent time in Antarctica in the early 2000s to launch of a balloon-borne instrument called TIGER.

* The snow is rather curious, dry, crystalline snow. It doesn’t pack into snowballs the way wetter snow would, but in places where time and pressure have packed the snow, it is almost like styrofoam in consistency.

* Another notable thing about the snow is how sparkling it is. The crystals catch the bright sunlight, and it looks as if someone mixed glitter into it. The snow doesn’t taste any different, but it is gritty, because it’s very dry and crystaline.

* There are so few rocks in the snow that nearly every rock that you find is a meteorite.

* You have to wear special clothing. You need at least three layers to stay warm: an inner layer that wicks sweat away from the body; a middle layer (fluffy) that gives insulation; and an outer that is wind-proof. Some of these layers may be combined in one piece of clothing.

* If you get lost, your biggest worry is not cold, but calories: ” Shelter you can probably improvise, but your body needs food to keep warm, and there is NOTHING you can eat that you didn’t bring with you. Your only hope is to be found soon.”

Cool. Literally. Suddenly the wondrous Toronto spring feels even milder.



2 Responses to Antarctica – What’s it really like?

  1. pandabox33 says:

    It just makes me want to go even more. As if I didn’t have enough of winter in Montreal.

  2. What’s up, I read your new stuff like every week.
    Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

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