Wildlife avoidance

Screenshot of the ATM SOXMap precise navigation display, captured today shortly after a 180 degree turn maneuver between two of our grid lines.  The display shows a wildlife colony near bottom left, which our pilots carefully avoided, as the green "bread-crumb" track shows.  The pink dot depicts the location of the colony, and the blue circle depicts the 2 km stay-away radius we scrupulously observe, as a minimum, for all wildlife colonies.  Our Antarctic wildlife database, which currently contains more than 2000 known or suspected wildlife colony locations, is updated for each OIB Antarctic campaign.  The Antarctic Treaty contains a clause which requires the signatories (including the United States) to protect Antarctic wildlife.  An interpretation of this clause includes a requirement to avoid disturbing the colonies with noise from low-flying aircraft, and this in turn drives our extensive wildlife avoidance procedures.

NASA/ATM/John Sonntag