It’s true. Even polar scientists need storage space:
One Xserve RAID one is scratch space for data analysis. The IceCube array produces a lot of data, and the researchers try to only transfer the most interesting fraction over the satellite internet connection. This storage will lets researchers sift through some of that data. The less interesting majority is written to tape to ship to Madison, WI, once a year.
The second Xserve RAID provides storage for a backup server, storing snapshots of home directories, web, mysql, postgres, ldap, mail, and a few other critical pieces of data. It is currently configured very conservatively for just over a week of history, but there is expected to be plenty of room for several weeks worth.