G-V’s First IceBridge Science Flight. The NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V (G-V) on the ramp at the Punta Arenas, Chili airport. The G-V aircraft with the LVIS lidar mapping system took off at 8:58 AM local time on a 9 hr flight to the Thwaites glacier. They will fly at 40-45,000 ft altitude at speeds up to 500 kts to map a grid of surface elevation on Thwaites glacier.
Credit: NASA/Dr. Michelle Hofton
Practically the southernmost town in Chile (the credit technically goes to the much smaller Puerto Williams), Punta Arenas is a mishmash of corrugated-iron-roofed buildings, a busy port, and a small but steadily growing population, boosted by an upturn in the local oil industry.
Facing the Strait of Magellan, it’s often battered by freezing southerlies and has a colonist backstory. It started out as a settlement created by Captain John Williams, a seaman from Bristol working for the Chileans. It moved to its present site in 1848, and an English sailor named it ‘Sandy Point’ (Punta Arenas).