Elaine Walker's Personal Journal - HMP 2004 Education and Public Outreach
July 21, 2004 - Airplane flights and more airplane flights
The fog thickened as the taxi cab neared the Ottawa airport. From the looks of things I was afraid the flight would get delayed, but First Air launched on time this morning. I met Sekou Crawford (NASA Ames) while waiting in the security line. NASA Haughton-Mars Project participants are easy to spot, carrying scientific equipment and wearing a NASA badge around their neck. I had trouble memorizing his name and he finally told me it rhymes with "stay cool". Sekou will be doing medical research with JD Polk (NASA JSC Flight Surgeon) and Jeff Jones (NASA JSC Flight Surgeon) if their schedules coincide.
At the Iqaluit airport we met Eric Mumm and Tom Kennedy from Honeybee Robotics. It's exciting to know that their Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) is now on Mars. I was able to hold a prototype in my hand a few years back. Eric and Tom are working with Brian Glass (NASA Ames), Principal Investigator for the DAME (Drilling Automation for Mars Exploration) Project. Howard Cannon (NASA Ames) will be joining them as well.
The flight from Iqaluit to Resolute Bay was delayed a few times, about every half hour. A man named Kevin Larmondin told us that repeated 1/2 hour delays were a sure sign that we were going nowhere. Kevin is an engineer on his way to work as a site manager for the Polaris Mine Reclamation Project on Little Cornwallis Island. We've met several people working to shut down a couple of different mines in the area. Just as Kevin told this to us, it was announced that our plane was boarding. At some point during the flight, however, the pilot explained that we needed to take a turn and land short of Resolute Bay, at a place called Nanisivik. It is a tiny airport with a village of 500 about 20 kilometers away. Although we were disappointed, the flight offered a unique view of some spectacular alien-looking landscapes that we would not have seen otherwise.
We walked around at Nanisivik and took some pictures of each other standing in front of a majestic view. The locals sat around as if this wasn't the first time they've had to stop here. Bad news came. We're flying back to Iqaluit! This time we are served lunch instead of breakfast and are moods are a little dim. [great service on First Air, btw!] Our group stayed at the Frobisher Inn, and discovered quickly that they had opened a new bar across from the restaurant. This is definitely the place to be, complete with dance floor, dazzling lights, pool tables and video games. It seems that the youth of Iqaluit are all here.
So, we make the most of it, call it a night, and hope for the best in the morning!