back to article Poor NASA sods sent to spend Xmas in Antarctic ahead of satellite launch

A NASA team is heading on a trip arcing around the South Pole to check that their new satellite's measurements from space are just as good as their own back on terra firma. The ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2) will launch next year, tasked with measuring elevation around the world to investigate the changes …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    At least they'll get some sun.

  2. Nicholas Nada

    Poor sods?

    A guaranteed white Christmas and many, many miles from family - where do I sign up?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Poor sods?

      many miles from family

      Next time sign with your real name Clark Griswold.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Poor sods?

      Depends on your nationality. If you're from the UK, then you should be checking the British Antarctic Survey jobs page regularly.

      Otherwise, the US bases are managed by Raytheon (yep, that Raytheon, the ones who make missiles and stuff) (not any more), Leidos (a different US defence contractor). They have their own jobs pages.

      If you're not from the US or UK, your home country might have their own Antarctic bases, or you might be able to get a job with the yanks.

      Bare in mind though, there's many more people who want a job on the ice than there are open positions, so don't get your hopes up.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: Poor sods?

        In fact a family member is doing just that this year.

        We've already had a family Christmas get-together, so when he flies off in a few days time, we have still had a chance to celebrate.

  3. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    They aren't poor sods at all. I would love to spend Xmas in the Antarctic and have a reason to be there, not just a damn tourist. Lucky sods!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They could have penguin for Christmas dinner.

    I'd watch out for polar bears though.

    1. Spacedinvader
      FAIL

      One seriously fucking lost polar bear?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        One seriously fucking lost polar bear?

        It must be a bi-polar bear!

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I do know that you know. Polar bears live in Africa.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Linux

          Polar bears live in Africa.

          As do penguins!

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Polar bears live in Africa.

            I thought the penguins all moved to Australia?

            1. Mark Exclamation

              Re: Polar bears live in Africa.

              "I thought the penguins all moved to Australia?"

              No, that's the Kiwis!

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Polar bears live in Africa.

            But African polar bears are non-migratory

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          It could have been carried there by a penguin.

          or two penguins could have it on a line....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Was it an African or European penguin?

      3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        I am surprised no one has actually transported one there, just they can play the pedant's pedant card.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          I'm fairly sure it's

          A) tricky to sneak a polar bear into your luggage. Even if it's in a large box labelled 'Do not open till Xmas'.

          B) against a few quarantine regs and international treaties.

          Explosives are OK though, as long as they're documented and licensed as seismic charges. There was an interesting blog from another BAS mission that seemed to be having a lot of fun with those around Mt Erebus.

          But it would be a tad sucky if they get there and there's a problem with the launch. Maybe there's a plan-B. Penguin census?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Book it a seat in business, get it a long trench coat, hat, glasses and a stick on moustache, the classic disguise of Hollywood films, it never fails. Make sure you tick the fish option for the meal though or it could get messy.

          2. Chris G Silver badge

            Simples! Tie a tiger to the box, then nobody will look in the box.

            Shirley, if Polar Bears don't live on both poles they are misnamed and should be called Arctic Bears?

            Well, apart from the ones that live in Africa.

    2. mr.K

      http://web.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2013/10/01

  5. fishman

    Summer

    At least it's summertime there.

    1. My other car is an IAV Stryker
      Joke

      Re: Summer

      A summer even Olaf can enjoy without additional assistance from Elsa.

      (Oh, I'm sorry... my daughters have made sure my brain is "Frozen". The recent snow dump in our area has got them singing "Do you want to build a snowman?" nigh constantly.)

  6. Mr F&*king Grumpy

    deja vu

    Well that's interesting. I was part of a 3-person team that did exactly the same thing for ESA's ERS-1 in 1991.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: deja vu

      I was part of a 3-person team that did exactly the same thing

      Genuine question then - these reflective targets, how long do they last before they are covered in snow and can't be seen by the satellite?

      M.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: deja vu

        Took the snide quip from my mouth (and made it polite)

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: deja vu

        how long do they last before they are covered in snow and can't be seen by the satellite?
        Dunno, but Antarctica is the driest continent. Of course there's windblown stuff, but I imagine the cubes are placed where the stuff is being blown away, rather than accumulating. Bare rock may be a giveaway.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: deja vu

          Yup. Science is fun like that. Surrounded by ice in a desert. Not sure about rock, but AFAIK there's a lot of ice sitting on top of it that doesn't move much. So assuming the survey team's going to measure ice depth at the calibration targets. GRACE had a lot of.. fun trying to calibrate it's readings.

          1. ravenviz Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: deja vu

            Is that polar bare rock?

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: deja vu

          The windblown stuff does accumulate though. The last south pole base was abandoned because the snow on top got too deep.

          OTOH, if these reflectors are stuck on poles drilled in suitably deeply, then in the longer term they can be used to quantify ice movement as well as providing short term reference points.

          I'd send out a team of penguins to do it, but at the 88th meridian they'd be even more lost than the polar bears.

  7. Alan Sharkey

    Accuracy?

    Of course, that does assume that the ice won't move between the time they measure it and the time the satellite measures it.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Accuracy?

      Of course, that does assume that the ice won't move between the time they measure it and the time the satellite measures it.
      Ice moves, but at a glacial pace. I guess that's why the ice in such places is referred to as glacier...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Baby, it's cold out there...

    Well, kinda. If you do "physical work", on most days in the summer (this time of year), all you really need is a good parka and bunny boots.

    As for wild animals, the only ones at the pole are humans. Penguins don't get that far.

    Oh, yes you will get some sun. In fact you can tell time by it. Hopefully it doesn't shine in the window at 3am (like it did to me).

    1. John Robson Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Baby, it's cold out there...

      >Oh, yes you will get some sun. In fact you can tell time by it. Hopefully it doesn't shine in the window at 3am (like it did to me).

      Just make sure you get a south facing window ;)

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