Support and Logistics

WISSARD field camp layout

The WISSARD project is being carried out as part of the U.S. Antarctic Program.  The infrastructure and logistics to support WISSARD are primarily provided through the Antarctic Support Contract (ASC), managed by Lockheed-Martin.  The ASC is responsible for shipping equipment and supplies to Antarctica, getting the field team to McMurdo Station, and providing basic Station and field support (such as meals, camp equipment, laboratories, electrical power and intracontinental transportation) to the project.

Initially, the field team deploys to McMurdo Station (webcam), which is the project base for initial assembly and testing of the field equipment.  After testing, heavy tractors are used to traverse the heavy equipment and fuel more than 500 miles on sleds over the snow to the field site at Lake Whillans.  An advance field team goes to the Lake Whillans area by aircraft in order to prepare the site and to service equipment which has been collecting data over the last two years.  Additional field team members are flying to the site once the traverse arrives, to assist in camp setup and drilling.  After the borehole is drilled through the ice sheet, the science team uses cranes and winches mounted on sled decks to send instruments down to the bottom to collect samples and data, which are initially processed in field laboratories, before being shipped back to McMurdo, and ultimately to the U.S.