Porter resident, Joshua Ton, finished up his job at the Amundsen Scott South
Pole station on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.
Ton was contracted last fall to serve in the Antarctic Program as a
satellite engineer and spent the last 13 months on the ice. At the
completion of his service he received the Antarctica Service Medal in
recognition of valuable contributions to exploration and scientific
achievement under the U.S. Antarctic Program. In addition he received the
wintered over pin from the National Science Foundation. Ton wintered over
with 44 other people who worked together to keep the station up and running.
He was responsible for keeping the satellite connection up and running along
with other communications within and outside of the station. The planes stop
flying in to the station mid-February and resume in early November. During
that time the temperatures fall to a level that is unsafe for planes to fly.
The station hosts events to help keep everyone motivated and happy. These
events include the normal functions such as Christmas parties and the not so
normal such as a race around the world where they brave the cold and run
around the pole to cover all time zones.
Big events include the setting of the sun and the even more exciting sun
rise after 6 months of darkness. The facility features areas to help keep
everyone active and busy including a full gym, music room and video room
along with a library. Fun can always be found when the temperatures fall to
negative 100 degrees and many find their way to the 200 degree sauna then
run outside to complete the requirements for the 300 club.
With the first incoming plane in November everyone is excited to enjoy the
fresh fruits and vegetables on board along with seeing new people and the
excitement that they will soon be back in the warmth of New Zealand.
Ton will spend the next several weeks traveling to several countries before
heading back to Porter, Ind., in time to share Christmas with his family.
Ton will then move to Denver where he was hired to be a head satellite
engineer for the U.S. Antarctic Program. He is looking forward to offering
his support to the new group of people who will work at the Antarctic
stations and the chance at again visiting the Antarctic.