Last nights. Credit: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–D. Schmitt
Didier Schmitt is a member of the space Task Force at the European External Action Service. He is a regular opinion writer in major newspapers and magazines and has published a book on foresight. He will be contributing to this blog during his visit to Concordia – we join him on his final days at the coastal station Dumont d'Urville:
The ice sheet becomes more dangerous by the day. Crevasses formed around the island and the usual access points have been compromised. A small team went out to test the ice thickness. First, they carefully drilled just next to the helicopter on stationary flight. A map was then updated; the next version will be done using a high-resolution satellite image of the surroundings.
Glacier monitoring. Credit: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–D. Schmitt
American, Australian, Belgian, Spanish, Swiss and Japanese scientists and technicians are present on the base. A significant proportion of the research is done by PhD students, especially during winter-over. As not all specialties can be represented, they have to be polyvalent.
Glaciology is the main activity in Antarctica, obviously. To get a flavour for field work, I went with a team to the top of the glacier ...