Sunday, July 12, 2009


With the worst of the power drama behind us (we hope!), the greenhouse is evidently safe from the power axe. A high point of my week is always going up to the GH on Wednesday afternoons. I test the pH and nutrient levels of all eleven hydroponic systems, and do other little daily tasks like filling the humidifiers.

The greenhouse is a little island of light and humidity in dark, dry McMurdo. It is so dry in the buildings around town that it's crazy. Relative humidity in my dorm is around 1%. Antarctica is by far the driest place on earth, and warming up that cold, dry air makes the RH even lower. In the greenhouse, there are hundreds of plants breathing out moisture, and two humidfiers, so the RH is around 20%. Still pretty dry by stateside standards, but pretty nice by Antarctican standards.

The power plant problem resulted in a lot of lights being turned off to keep power consumption down. It has made McMurdo kind of spooky and strange. Some friends have even reported a spike in depression from being in the dark all the time. I haven't noticed that, but I have been jumping at shadows. The whole town is one big, scary dark alley. The greenhouse is a nice respite from the gloom.

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