Saturday, 31 March 2018

A little exercise

We were pretty busy so we didn’t get much time off although I did manage a quick run around the station, worrying about a bear popping out at any moment, there is an almost exact 1km loop.
 Here I am after 5km in the cold. 
Cycling is a pretty popular form of transport at Ny-Alesund, although it has to be said that the British bikes could do with a service.

Someone had a far nicer bike

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Why we are up here.

In about 18 months’ time there will be a season where we search for the missing iron meteorites of Antarctica, before that we have one season checking out that the areas we have selected are meteor stranding zones and that are equipment works correctly. This trip was all about characterising the metal detectors. We have designed a metal detector especially for the job, and we needed somewhere radio quiet with deep clean ice to characterise it, this involves driving it over various samples buried at various depths.

The detecting coil is on the large flat panel just over a meter wide. In the final setup we will be dragging 5 of these to scan a swath 5m wide. Even so we expect to have to drive about 200km on average for each buried iron meteorite we find, although we should hopefully find many more stoney ones on the surface.

Up and down.

The equipment didn't always work!

Monday, 26 March 2018


Penguins keep a pretty low profile in the Arctic, generally they don't like Polar Bears but just occaisionally:

Compareing beaks with the great man himself.
And driving the skidoo

Sunday, 25 March 2018

A little history.

Ny-Alesund was originally founded as a mining town in 1917, but became famous as the departure point for heading to the North Pole. On the 11th of May 1926 the airship Norge left Ny-Alesund and became the first undisputed trip to reach the North Pole the following day. Roald Amundsen of South Pole fame led the expedition, with the airship designed and piloted by Umberto Nobile.  The airship mast is still standing:

And this is where Amundsen stayed - in a villa named after him

There is of course a statue of the man himself.

The last mining activity terminated in 1962 and the village gradually morphed into a scientific research station which now has 10 different nationalities renting buildings off the Kings Bay Company (effectively the Norwegian government). Although the buildings all look similar, each nation does manage to put their own stamp on their place. Here is the Chinese building.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

On Broggerbreen

Had a good day working on a glacier called Austre Broggerbreen. Nice weather, nice scenery.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Not Polar Bears.

There are two animals that we have seen quite a bit of. First is Kayla, a lovely malamute who lives just opposite our front door and yowls everytime we pass by.
And arctic foxes, or possibly one artic fox that uses Ny-Alesund as its scavenging ground.
There are Ivory gulls swooping across the bay but far too far away to get a good picture.