We get a lot of questions about what an 'average day' at Zodiac Station is like, what sort of science we're doing here at the end of the world. So to give you a snapshot, here's what the team are doing today.
(Photo courtesy Bob Eastman)
Dr Eastman will be checking his instruments on top of Mount Olsen. He's running a series of experiments examining the electromagnetic properties of the Aurora Borealis.
(Photo courtesy David Ashcliffe)
Professor Ashcliffe is taking out the helicopter, looking for polar bears to tag with radio collars. Females should just be emerging from their winter dens around now with their cubs. Although globally the polar bear population is under severe threat from melting sea ice, here on Utgard Prof Ashcliffe reports it's never been stronger. Though we haven't seen so many around Zodiac this year.
Flying the helicopter is our pilot and resident Australian, Stuart Jensen. Who says he never gets tired of views like this:
(Photo courtesy Stuart Jensen/Polar Rotary Aviation)
Meanwhile, Professor Hagger and Dr Kobayashi are leading the team at Camp Gemini, our home-away-from-home up on the ice dome. Dr Kobayashi and her students are currently drilling the deepest ice core ever taken on Utgard, while also trying to map drainage flows through the glacial system (pictured). Professor Hagger is sampling the sea ice around the Helbreen Glacier front for evidence of early life.
(Photo courtesy James McIntosh & Annabel Kobayashi)
And the rest of the team will be staying at Zodiac: checking instruments, maintaining equipment, analysing data in the labs, and preparing for the supply flight due in from Tromso this afternoon.
(Photo courtesy Miriam Iorwerth)
So as you can see, everyone's keeping busy. And tonight we'll all rendezvous back at the platform for movie night, a Zodiac institution. Tonight's movie is Alien, which we'll be washing down with plenty of beer and popcorn.
All in all, just another average day in the snow.