What It's Like to Spend Christmas at the Bottom of the Planet

WIRED | 12/24/2017 | Eric Niiler
Emzah92 (Posted by) Level 3
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Kelly Brunt won’t be home for the holidays, nor will she be ringing in the New Year at a fabulous party or watching Ryan Seacrest schmooze B-list celebrities on TV. Instead, between December 21 and January 11, she’ll be leading a four-person expedition around the South Pole, sleeping in a small tent mounted on a plastic sled that is pulled by a snowcat. But that doesn't mean she won't celebrate—it'll just be a demure affair, with her crew, a cozy fleece, and a carefully prepared cup of her favorite gourmet coffee.

“We are being anal about the kind of coffee and the pour over,” says Brunt, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We bring down our own filters and we will buy whole beans before we arrive.”

Brunt - Trip - Antarctica - Christmas - New

Brunt is making her tenth trip to Antarctica since 2000. She's celebrated Christmas and New Year’s five times there, as well as five Thanksgivings and eight birthdays. As a glaciologist, she’s worked at the US main base at McMurdo Station, camped on massive floating icebergs in the Ross Sea, and in 2009, and spent three months with the Australian Antarctic Program on the Amery Ice Shelf.

And this year, Brunt is leading the ground-based team on NASA’s ICESAT2, which is studying changes in the Antarctic ice sheet and how they contribute to global sea level changes.

Expedition - Miles - Crunchy - Ice - Bottom

The expedition will cross 500 miles of crunchy, chunky ice at the bottom of the planet. The massive ice cap that covers the South Pole is more than 10,000 feet in elevation, so the team will have to acclimate for several days at the Amundsen-Scott base before heading out into the "deep field," which is Antarctic-speak for any place beyond the comfort of a permanent station. Yes, it will be cold, ranging from -20 to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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