McMurdo 2012: In Review

Group photo Some of my favourite photos from the BLAST-Pol launch campaign. November 2012 to January 2013 in McMurdo Station, Antarctica. This is just a collection of previously-uploaded photos. Titles and captions may not all make sense without their original context. […]

Midnight Castle Rock

Laura descending Because Elio graciously took over Tristan’s shift early, a bunch of us night-shifters when on a midnight trip to Castle Rock. And Elio got to be alone for his shift. Again, this involved a climb up the rock, and a sled down the glacier on galley trays. Good times. Also a couple photos from Ob Hill the previous evening. Finally some news: BLAST ran out of cryogens two nights ago, and was finally shut off the following day. Now it’s drifting around the continent until it gets back into range to terminate the balloon and recover. Elio will be recovering, and the rest of us are leaving soon. Thanks Elio. […]

Hut Point (feat. Penguin!)

Penguin! While we’re back in town for flight monitoring, there’s more time for seeing the sights. One sight open over the new year’s break was RF Scott’s hisotrical hut, just outside of town. So, I went inside and explored that. Otherwise, we’ve also been to Hut Point a few times as it’s a prime location for wildlife spotting. I managed to encounter a penguin one day, and an especially active seal another. […]

After the Launch

Outside is the "Petting Zoo" After the launch, and the marathon of line-of-sight calibrations, we left LDB for the last time. Thanks to a bureaucratic mess-up, we only had some wet lab space available for our flight control shifts. Eventually we moved to an office and lost some space and our window, but gained ability to eat and drink and not smell like fish. […]

Mega Launch Day Mega Post

Launch Launch day mega post! I start with some documentation of BLAST’s final flight configuration (which while a little boring is part of the reason people indulge my taking photos of everything). Then we go through our pre-launch preparations. Later, I’m allowed out to the flightline to document the assembly and inflation process there—much closer than I’d been before. Finally there is the launch itself, which went off cleanly. A big thanks to the CSBF crew for all their hard work. […]

Get BLAST!ed

I had been working on a special Christmas image for Tristan, after he’d reminded me to DFTBA. However, the launch delayed things. I hope this will keep people satisfied a little longer while I sort through my huge mass of launch-day photos, while also trying to babysit BLAST at float. […]


Launch! BLAST is now floating and spinning its way up into the stratosphere. It should be noted that a launch on the 26th is exactly what Santa promised when we asked him. […]

Fridge, Christmas

Laura caroling As part of the Christmas days off, the foodies opened McMurdo’s giant fridge/freezer building for a tour. They have a standing offer of free 5lb bags of alfredo sauce; apparently they have far too much. I also have a small selection of photos of the Christmas festivities. Hopefully Tristan can supplement these. We’re currently in the middle of launch operations. Soon we will be waiting for the winds to come down, and if they do we might have ourselves a launch! […]

Snowmobile Training, etc

BLAST stickers With the gondola pretty much finished, we’ve switched to running tests and practicing for flight. A couple days ago, this also meant getting our official snowmobile training, for trips out to the launch pad. A little joyriding made everybody a little more joyful. […]

BLAST Scanning gif

I’ve not been doing much photography lately, but I have been playing with combining images into animations. So in lieu of other content, I present an animated gif of BLAST scanning. […]