2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

McMurdo Station

Table of Contents

Project Indexes USAP Program overviews Station schedules & overviews Technical Events


On January 21, 1902, Robert Falcon Scott landed on Ross Island during his National Antarctic Expedition in his ship, DISCOVERY. Scott and his men constructed the Discovery Hut on a strip of land they christened "Hut Point" (near what is now McMurdo Station) and spent the winter there.  
McMurdo Station is located on the southern end of Ross Island, on the farthest south solid ground accessible by ship, and is reached by ship from McMurdo Sound. The island and the sea surrounding it bear the name of James Clark Ross, who discovered the island in 1841. Captain Ross also chose the name of McMurdo Sound in honor of Lieutenant Archibald McMurdo, one of the officers onboard Ross expedition's vessel, the TERROR. Ross Island is approximately 45 miles wide and 45 miles long and is also the home to New Zealand's Scott Base.  
In December 1955, Hut Point was selected as the U.S. site for Operation Deep Freeze-I, to support polar science activities. A tent camp was formed until prefabricated buildings could be unloaded and erected. The first winter over at McMurdo was in 1956 and consisted of ninety-three men.  
Currently, McMurdo Station is the largest of the United States Antarctic stations, and is the main operational center for the continental U.S. Antarctic Program. It has two landing strips and more than 100 buildings ranging in size from a small radio shack to large, three-story structures linked by above ground water, sewer, telephone, and power lines.  
Construction on McMurdo's newest building, the Science Support Center continues this year. Eventually it will house the Mechanical Equipment Center, the Berg Field Center, the Field Safety Training Program (FSTP) and grantee science cargo. The expected completion date is 2004.  
  During the 2002 austral-winter season, 228 science, Aviation Technical Services (ATS), and Raytheon Polar Services Company (RPSC) contractor personnel remained at McMurdo Station to maintain station operations and to conduct winter-over research.  
  The winter operations tempo changed at Winter Fly In (WINFLY) which began on 19 August 2002 with a series of six flights from Christchurch, New Zealand, to McMurdo Station. In the period between WINFLY and the mainbody austral-summer station opening on 02 October 2002, four research projects began. Preparation of the station's facilities to accommodate the planned summer program will begin at the actual mainbody station opening.  
  Early estimates indicate that 2600 participants will fly to McMurdo during the austral-summer season. However, the weekly population average is expected to be approximately 1000.  
  McMurdo station will close out the 2002-03 austral-summer season activities on 22 February 2003. After this closing, approximately 200 people will remain at the station during the 2003 austral-winter month to maintain station operations, perform construction tasks, and conduct winter-over research.  


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