20 January 2009

Satellite Earth Station at -20°C

Chris, Jacob and myself left Halifax on Saturday evening around 6pm headed for the South Shore and the satellite earth station about 1.5 hours southwest by car. The temperature was a breath-freezing, skin-numbing -20°C.

We parked at the gate, immediately noticing the road beyond it had not been plowed since the last snowfall. We all bundled up for the 1km hike to the facility through the snow. Fortunately, the sustained -20°C for several days prior to our visit had made the snow ideal for walking on top of it. We observed both human and animal tracks in the snow. The human tracks trailed in and out of the brush before circling back to the gate. Animal tracks carried on throughout the walk. Some tracks observed were quite large.

We toured the facilities, skipping the underground tunnel, following the long hallway from the first building to the second, where the collapsed remains of one of the dishes still rests. Snow has drifted into the buildings in many spots through not only open doorways and broken windows but holes through walls and roofs as well.

Once we reached the rear of the second building exited through the back doors and made our way to the top of the snow-covered mound to our immediate right. Atop this small hill is an open concrete well. It isn't all that deep, but is about 1/3 full of frigid cold, but NOT FROZEN water. There was only about 1cm of ice above 2m of water after about 96 hours at temperatures well below the freezing mark.

For the most part the facilities remain unchanged from my last visit in the Fall of 2008.

Since we arrived, toured and left under cover of darkness, there wasn't much for photo opportunities.

1. Obligatory smashed toilet photo.

2. Three tubes descending underground through concrete. Quite deep.

3. Glove found on the floor. Large hole through the back of the hand, small hold through the palm. Looks like a combo of piercing, fire and harsh chemicals.

4. Computer cabinet illuminated by several flashlights.

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