NASA’s IceBite project will spend three austral summers in Antarctica testing ice-penetrating drills for a future mission to Mars. A team of seven scientists is in Antarctica now for the first field season, installing scientific probes in the ice and frozen ground, and scouting for sites where the drills will be tested the following year. Team member, Margarita Marinova, is writing a blog of the team’s activities. In this first set of entries, she describes preparations for deployment to the field. In addition, readers can now send questions directly to the scientists as they explore Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys.