These are some of the photos taken during our eight days at Thule Air Base. (The Kessingers had to stay for eight days because the supply plane only comes once a week!)
I was given a vehicle to drive while I was there, but there are no roads in or out of the base. All vehicles must be plugged when it is not left running. The sun was actually starting to come up for a while during the 'day'. Special arctic coats and masks were also provided. The safety talk took about two hours. It covered how the door handles all had to be pulled up so the Polar bears didn't lean on them to open the doors to come inside for food (and for me in my sleep???)
The steam used to make electricity was then piped to each building for heating. It worked almost too well. Or was it just the contrast?
Among other things, they keep an eye on orbiting space debris. All your Goggle Earth photos come in through Thule receivers.
"What did you see while you were up there?"
Ice, rocks, and snow. Not to be confused with what I saw the times I've given classes in Alaska for the oil companies: "Mountains, trees, rivers."
The ice crystals are clinging to a 1.5 inch diameter strut, the middle section is a little larger than my open hand. The temperature hovered around -27 below zero the entire eight days my wife and I were there. Your first breath of this air is taken while walking down the plane's ramp. It was a shock to my nose and lungs. And my mouth. Then evident to my eyes, nose fingers, etc.
The base commander and his staff greeted all 12 of us as we reached the bottom of the rolling stairs used to disembark. Actually, his first words were "watch your footing, it's slippery." More than obvious. After the 1/4 mile walk to the "terminal" trailer, we were greeted by the most courteous people you'd every want to meet; Danish contractors. We were entertained, given a tour of EVERYTHING. I was told, much later, that I was given security clearance equal to being allowed to board Air Force One. (Clint Eastwood came to Thule to film the movie "Firefox". Siberia wasn't interested in helping to make a movie about stealing a Russian jet.)
Can you identify the side of the barrel that faces the prevailing winds?
All wiring and cables going from building to building had to be laid on top of the ground. Miles and miles of copper and fiber are left exposed. Putting the wire and pipes underground was not an option.
Did I mention that it was really cold outside?
The polar ice cap can be seen in the background. The section with the sloping ice allows access, providing you have a permit and a tracked vehicle.
The second picture from the top shows the back of this building.
The access road to this radar site passes directly in front of it. It is at this point the truck's relays would chatter, and the engine would slow a bit. I was told that was "normal".
Alaska: Rivers, Trees, and Mountains.
Greenland: Ice, Rocks, and Snow.