1. Oct. 27, 1998, Tuesday: Santiago
The team arrived from the US this morning. Today's agenda is pretty full: we are planning to meet the Chilean researchers who will join the expedition and let everyone get acquainted. This occurred in a small conference room at the offices of the Chilean Air Force Antarctic Division, where we each had the opportunity to talk about our background and expectations for the coming field season at Patriot Hills. The original team that departed from USA was: Matthew Deans (CMU, USA), Stewart Moorehead (CMU, Canada), Bill Cassidy (University of Pittsburgh, USA), Pascal Lee (NASA/AMES, France), Nicolas Vandapel (LAAS, France), Liam Pedersen (CMU, South Africa), Michael Parris (CMU, USA), Mark Sibenac (CMU, USA), Alex Foessel (CMU, Chile). The new members are: 1) Captain Christian Puebla (Chilean Air Force Officer, Chile). Aeronautical engineer, Master in astronautical engineering. 2)Fernando Valdes (Chilean Air Force, Chile), who is pursuing a Ph.D. in the University of Santiago de Chile. 3) Danilo Bassi, Ph.D. (University of Santiago de Chile faculty, sponsored by the Chilean Antarctic Institute, Chile), who has a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California and has done several years research in neural networks and in mobile robotics. Christian and Fernando are the two people that FACH selected from the Chilean Air Force to integrate into our team. We hope this will establish a technical relationship with another institution that has an interest in spaceflight and space exploration. Danilo was selected by the Antarctic Chilean Institute as their Chilean representative in this scientific expedition. This is part of our collaboration arrangement with the Chilean government.
After this, the whole team went to meet the Commander in Chief of the Chilean Air Force to brief him about our planned activities at Patriot Hills. He gave our group a warm welcome and wished us success, while barely able to hide a certain perplexity over the standard uniform of the modern geek -- sneakers, worn blue jeans and T-shirts with a variety of messages on them.
Our meeting with this busy executive was quite short, and we proceeded then to Air Force Polytechnic Academy to give a presentation to some journalists about this second expedition to Patriot Hills. We had a pretty good turnout from the press, in view of the competition, which was breaking news and speculation about events surrounding the possible extradition of former president Pinochet from Great Britain to Spain, where he was wanted on a charge of human rights violations.
The long day ended in a great dinner at a traditional Chilean restaurant. The team is in very good spirits. Tomorrow will be a rest day and people are making individual plans to tour Santiago or take care of last-minute purchases.