Dear Mr. Dave and Mr. Matt,
Hi, my name is Keith Bailey. I am 10 years old. I live in Salisbury MD. How come it is dark there all the time? What do you eat? How do you stay warm? How long will you stay there? Where will you stay for the winter? I could not stand it there because it is so cold. Mrs Weeg said that you sent us pictures of you and the flags of countries that been there. And she has a map of Antarctica and the place where you are staying for the winter.
We had a big storm. The winds were 90 miles per hour and we almost had a tornado but Baltimore had the first tornado in history. My step dad was in Baltimore but he left before it hit. The other big storm we had is when my house got struck house. I saw the lake across the street that got struck by lightning.
We have a new stadium for the Delmarva Shorebirds. My favorite player is number 13 because he can throw a 89 mile pitch. He can strike people out. So I hope to hear from you good-bye.
It is winter here now. Our seasons are opposite of yours. I will be here all winter, because there is no way to leave. They only fly planes here while there is light. The next plane will arrive here in about 50 days when the sun starts to rise again.
If you look at a globe, you will see the Antarctic circle. This is the line of darkness on the first day of winter. The areas close to the circle will have a few fully dark days, and the pole has the longest period of darkness. In the summer, we have sunlight all the time and the sun does not set. We have three meals a day served in a cafeteria. We do not have any fresh milk, eggs, or fruits. We do have a few fresh vegetables that are raised in a greenhouse with lights.
Thanks for writing,
June 25, 1996
Dear Mr. Dave and Mr.Matt,
My name is Kevin and I would like to know why is it so dark in Antarctica. Mrs. Weeg showed us on the map and told us it is a different time where you are. I'm in summer school because I had bad grades. Why is it different times where you are?
Do you see any more people there? We got a new baseball team in town. We also have a new stadium. I think you should come watch one of the games. The team name is Delmarva shorebirds and all the players are good.
What do you do for fun? Do you watch tv or games? Do you start fires when you get cold? Mrs. Weeg showed us the south pole. We heard that you are engineers. Mrs. Weeg showed us a picture of you. I would like to know if you have any pets. Do you see any penguins because I like the way they move side to side.
There are different time zones all over the world, because everybody wants noon to be when the sun is highest in the sky. I am living on Ross Island, which is a New Zealand dependency. It is a 2300 mile plane ride south from Christchurch New Zealand. We use New Zealand time here, which is 16 hours ahead of you.
There are 233 people here this winter. I have probably seen them all. We have TV as well as radio. There are also other activities such as bowling, basketball, volley ball, and a exercise gym. I watch TV and play games for fun. I brought my son's Game Boy with me.
There are no trees here, so finding wood for a fire would be difficult. We have oil heat in the buildings where I work and stay. We have very warm clothes for working outside, or going between buildings. I have a dog and cat in Snow Hill, but we cannot have pets here. They will no longer even allow dogs for dog sleds. I have seen penguins here, and they are fun to watch.
Thanks for writing,
I have seen The Nutty Professor. It is a funny movie. You will like it too. We saw the pictures of the greenhouse. Why do the plants not have soil? Do you have a church there? We did see the Antarctic circle. Why does the sun set and stay down for so long? Why does the plane arrive in 50 days?
I saw on the news that they were making the movie. Hopefully by the time I get home, it will be out on tape. I would like to see the movie.
There are a few reasons why the plants are not grown in soil. The Antarctic Treaty does not allow importation of plants or animals. I imagine that soil would not be allowed to come in here, but all waste also has to leave by ship. Growing the plants in water without soil leaves very little waste. Hydroponics allows more plants to be grown in less space, with fewer problems. Only plants for food can be grown in Antarctica.
There is a chapel here for services. Maybe Matt has some pictures of the chapel he can send.
Where you live, I am sure you noticed that there are more hours of light in the summer, and less in the winter. North of your home in the summer, there is more light, and in winter there is less light. These variations in light are due to the tilt of the earth's axis. I am sure you can find some pictures in an encyclopedia that will explain how it happens.
The next plane arrives within a few days of the first sunrise. The planes land on snow or ice, and usually have skis. The runways do not have lights, and have to be constantly maintained. They started getting the runways ready last week.
Thanks for writing,
We saw some pictures of the greenhouse and it looked like soil is in the pot. Is the exercise gym big? Do you have a church? What is your job? Who feeds your pets wile you are gone? Mrs Weeg showed us the Antarctic circle. We also saw where you live on the map. On the computer we saw someone walking with a penguins.
How old is your son? Do you have the big kinds of tv's? Where are you getting your stations from? Are you getting the stations from New Zealand?
Your Friend, Kevin Parker
The gym is not very large, it is about 20 feet wide and 80 feet long. There is a church here that has services every week. I work here at a NASA satellite tracking station. Matt and I keep the equipment working, and gather data for scientists.
My son is 11 years old, and lives with his mom in Snow Hill. They are talking care of the pets at home.
There are some big screen TV sets in some of the lounges. We get one satellite TV channel from AFRTS. There are a few community information channels that display the weather and schedules. There are also 2 channels that show video tapes of movies and old TV shows. New Zealand is too far away to pick up TV, and New Zealand does not use the same kind of TV signal, so our sets would not even be able to pick up the signals if we were closer.
Thanks for writing,
David Hess NK3T