For kindly concession of the Italian Program for Antarctic Research (PNRA)
The activities of the new arrivals (we) at the station are already started. The biologists established the works to be done with the boat (they are mainly interested in the Antarctic fishes) The geologists already started to fly with the helicopters' towards some glaciers with the rocks exposed or making samples and measurements for permafrost studies. The meteorologists have some fixed events that have to be done: the launching of the balloons for the atmospheric sounding every 6 hours. I participated in this last activity. Please note that the one in the photo is the midnight balloon!!!!
I already checked the equipment I installed during the previous expedition. It's a Control Box (CB) managing a UV-Visible spectrometer (the GASCOD) installed here at MZS since 1995. The GASCOD-CB system worked in automatic and unattended mode for the whole year also during the period when the station is closed (mid-February/mid-October). The observations of zenith sky scattered radiation will be used to estimate the nitrogen dioxide and ozone diurnal and seasonal variations.
Daniele Bortoli, Mario Zucchelli Station, Antártica, 10-01-2013
As I told in the previous post, this year we had to travel in a airplane of the US Air Force... and is not very comfortable, but the landscape after about 5 hours of fly is really amazing. 2 hours more and we arrived at the McMurdo Station (at 19:00 New Zealand local time - UTC+12...it means when In Portugal are 8:00 in the morning, here are the 21:00 of the same day, and - it takes a while to be confortable with that - at 20:00 in Portugal here are the 9:00 of the day after!!!!). A very gentle lady was there to guide the American and New Zealand researchers and military to the bus (IVAN the TERRABUS-a very nice, strange and big vehicle) for the down town of McMurdo. Instead, we (12 Italians + 1 French) stayed in the airport waiting for some news!!!! After a few minutes, we saw the Twin Otter was there waiting for us and 8 of the 13 new arrivals, were immediately embarked for the last trip to MZS (Mario Zucchelli Station). The other 5 had to wait for the next trip of the Twin-Otter at 1:30 in the morning!!!!! One of the most important things that an Antarctic guy has to have is patience...
The landing at the 'airport' of MZS was not so gentle as it was in McMurdo, but finally we arrived.
Welcome to MZS (Mario Zucchelli Station).
After the greetings with the manager of the station, the leader of the expedition, and all the people I know since the previous expeditions and also with the ones that are new in Antarctica a light dinner, a shower and then in bed to be ready and operative the following day.
Wake-up at 6:30, breakfast from 7:00 to 8:00, Lunch 13:00-14:00, Dinner 20:00 -21:00...and on Sunday... we are in the Italian Station so... pizza!!!! The rest of the day... work, we are here for this... not for vacation. On the other hand, here there is nothing else to do. No bars, no cafes, no restaurants and no discos!!!
Regarding now the works I came here to do: I have to make the normal maintenance of the 'old' GASCOD - Gas Analyzer Spectrometer Correlating Optical Differences - installed here at the station since 1996; I'll install the result of more than 10 years of development and adjustment, the new spectrometer called GASCODNG1 (NG stays for New Generation, for continuity with the old one) or SPATRAM/MZS (Spectrometer for Atmospheric Tracers Monitoring). The double name is due to the different research projects (SAMOA and MATAGRO) funded for this activity by Italy and Portugal. The collaboration between PROPOLAR and Italian Project for Antarctic Research (PNRA) is not still official, but we are working on that aiming to extend the possibility of collaboration to other field of research in the Ross sea for Portuguese scientists.
All the photos of this post are reproduced for kindly concession of the Italian Program for Antarctic Research (PNRA)
Daniele Bortoli, Mario Zucchelli Station, Antártica, 08-01-2013
I'm Daniele Bortoli, an Italian researcher working at the geophysics Centre of the University of Evora. I speak Portuguese, but regarding the writing...I'm more comfortable with the English language!!!. English is a quite simple and global language and for the ones who want to read the following few lines in Portuguese, the Google translator can make a great job!!!
I would like to invite you to follow me in my 4th experience in Antarctica from 01/01/2013 to 05/02/2013. The first contact with Antarctica was in '98-'99 during the XIV Italian Antarctic Expedition at the "Mario Zucchelli" Station (MZS - formerly TNB - Terra Nova Bay) located at 74°41'42"S, 164°07'23"E in the New Zealand sector of the Antarctic continent (you can use Google earth to see where the station exactly is). I came back there in 2000-'01 expedition (the XVI) and then I was more than 10 years without going there. Finally, I took part to the XXVII campaign in 2011-'12 and to this 2013 expedition. From Portugal, to arrive at MZS it takes more or less 38 hour of fly. The first 3 hours were on a TAP fly to reach Bologna (Italy) on 28 of December, then the first of January from the Bologna airport towards Frankfurt (Germany - only 2 hours!!!) Then the big fly from Frankfurt to Sidney (Australia - almost 20 hours on the same irplane) with a technical stop of 1 hour in Singapore. From Sidney to Christchurch (south New Zealand) there are 'only' 4 hours ('only' because after the leg Frankfurt-Sidney everything is shorter!!!). At this point the normal fly's are finished and following some hours of relax at the Sudima Hotel near the Christchurch airport and a visit to the Antarctic Centre,(http://www.iceberg.co.nz/) the researchers have to be ready to start a new leg, with the Antarctic clothes already dressed, on a military airplane (Hercules C130 or Galaxy) or with a lot of luck it should be possible also to fly on a normal airbus operated by Australian specialized airline. The destination is the McMurdo US station (77°50'39"S 166°40'22"E). still almost 400 km from MZS. After 6/8 hour of fly and a very pleasant landing (finally) on the ice at the McMurdo airport, we wait for the last fly from McMurdo to MZS with a very small airplane called Twin-Otter and/or with an helicopter.
More info's regarding the Italian Project for Antarctic Researches and the activities during this and the past expeditions can be found at http://www.pnra.it/.
Actually (04/01/2013) we are in Christchurch waiting for the fly scheduled for tomorrow to reach the Antarctic Continent.
I'll keep you informed about mine activities, in the frame of the MATAGRO (PT) and SAMOA (IT) projects once I have reached MZS.
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