Friday, July 08, 2005

Hillary Field Centre

I was fortunate enough today to take a tour of the new
Hillary Field Centre at Scott Base. It was dedicated by
and named after famous climber/explorer/beekeeper
Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand who was quite a
pioneer with the Kiwi Antarctic Programme. The Field
Centre will eventually be the staging site for all of the
science and outdoor projects that go on at Scott Base,
mostly in the summer. For those that know McMurdo,
it will function similarly to the SSC (Science Support
Center). They finished the shell of the building this summer,
but all winter the Kiwis have been working on the interior
and have gotten quite a bit accomplished. It even holds one
of Antarctica's only elevators. Elevator technology has
gotten so good, they can come as a "plug and play"
installation, making it much easier to install. Of course
while we were there, we received yet another great
outpouring of Kiwi hospitality, enjoying really good
tea and the chef made us "Seppo's" feel like home with
homemmade bagels...yum! The nicest thing about the
Field Centre in my opinion is that it is connected to the
rest of the station. McMurdo is a hodgepodge of
buildings, scattered over a huge site. With Scott
Base, one can walk all the way from one end to the
other without going outside, lessening the footprint
of the station on the continent, as well as making it
safer for everyone involved. Good idea!

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