Blogs from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Antarctica - page 3


Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 19th 2009

I went out to Williams Field today to work on the allsky camera because I had nothing better to do. Had to install some software on my computer, cover up the dome so that the "sun up" indicator turned off (there is an intensifier before the CCD camera that is very sensitive to light), and take a bunch of test pictures of the inside of the several layers of jackets and fleeces. The pictures indicated something was wrong, so I went through some troubleshooting steps, but didn't get anywhere. In the meantime, I went to cargo to see if they could move the old box back to McMurdo. It will potentially be used to insulate the neutron monitor, which is in a heated building now, but they want to heat just the detector and not the ... read more
Shippin' Out
Mt. Erebus

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 18th 2009

Because nobody works here on Sunday and we are waiting to hear if battery reconditioning works before anything else can be done, I have the day off! The recreation team and a bunch of volunteers organized a marathon for today and I thought about skiing the full or running the half. The course is on the ice shelf and goes between Willy Field, Pegasus (where the C-17 jet-engine cargo planes land) and Scott Base. But morning and running don't mix well with me, so, a little disappointed, I sat this one out. However, I found my way to the library and encountered a Runner's World magazine and read that. Eventually, I did go for a run of my own, but far shorter than 26.2 miles. Gallagher's bar had burger night tonight, so I stopped in for ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 17th 2009

Some movie references in this one. Recognize the title from "Little Monsters"? If you have not seen the movie "Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels", you should. At the end, the least-bad guys have the imbecile of the bunch throw out the last remaining evidence that links them to a serious series of crimes. The imbecile throws the evidence over a bridge, but it manages to get caught on a ledge. At this time, the rest of the guys figure out that the evidence is worth loads of money and try to ring the other dude. The movie ends with the dude leaning precariously over the bridge, holding onto a phone pole with one hand to keep him from falling; his other hand has the evidence and is about to push it off the bridge for ... read more
Carp Shop
2 String Guitar

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 16th 2009

The switch I installed in for the riometer did not do the job, so today, after the usual answering e-mails for a couple hours, I went out to do a more thorough inspection. Before I left, though, I met up with Jason, the RA here, to see if he had an indicator and a power chord I could use to rock out (hehe, power chord). Actually, the power chord is for plugging the Data Acquisition Unit (DAU) into a standard wall outlet, and the indicator is to determine whether data is being transferred from the DAU to the modem and from the modem to UNH. Jason didn't know what I was talking about and neither did I, so I just took something with a lot of lights on it. By this time it was already lunch ... read more
The System
The System (II)

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 15th 2009

More coordination going on, and I found out that chances of staying until the 23rd are high. I got my hands on some car batteries to do a end to end test of our system (getting data to UNH), so I went out to the shack, replaced the solar controller so that it would work for lead-ion batteries, installed a low voltage cutoff switch, and hooked up the batteries. Now we wait and see. The Prince of Monaco is taking a tour of Antarctica to raise awareness of global warming and climate change. Today he gave a half hour talk in the Galley on the matter. I think it is sort of humorous that he comes to the place that has the highest percentage per capita of climate change researchers to raise awareness about climate change. ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 15th 2009

Not a good day today. Paul, our engineer and system designer, is in New Hampshire. Marc, the Principle Investigator (PI) and my boss, is in Alaska. Vladamir Papitashvili, the official NSF yes or no, is at South Pole. Then there are the two Brians. I have to coordinate all of these people so that what needs to be done gets done. Figured that reconditioning the batteries is the best thing to try first, but also the least likely to succeed. By putting 2-3 Volts and 10-20 Amps (yeesh!) through these huge batteries for a whole day there is a chance of gaining up to 50% of their capacity back. That's 1 batter/day. Everyone began to realize that the solution is not a quick one and that my stay should be lengthened. Now, instead of the 16th, ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 13th 2009

I got up early and called around to discuss our energy problems with the energy expert, Brian Cunningham, and our NSF point of contact, Brian Johnson, who is in charge of helping our group and also ensuring that we stick to our budget (fat chance!). Brian C. grabbed some stuff and took us out to Willy Field in a Mattrack, a truck with 4 tank tracks instead of four wheels (pretty sweet). After a bunch of probing, we found that the batteries are dead, which is a huge on the budget being that they cost $1K each and there are 10 of them. Nothing I could do with that for the day until I talked with my boss, so I went back early, finished my badly neglected book (still Therapy). Afterward I finished I went for ... read more
B&W again
Scott Base
Entering NZ

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 12th 2009

Ran around gathering things this morning. The "Carp Shop" (carp = carpenter's) is pretty cool and was fun to be in. People making stuff with their own two hands, and I got to see wood -- closest thing to a tree I can get. Had to get some other stuff, too, but I forgot what it was. Required a lot of running around, though. Everything does... But Chris and I got out to Willy Field with everything we needed to finally set up the riometer, so we did that all day. Came back pretty late and did pretty much nothing after that. With the riometer done, all experiments are installed. The HF antenna is lacking a pre-amp and a data acquisition box, and there is supposed to be a flux gate magnetometer on the way, but ... read more
Our Little Community

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 11th 2009

Another slow day with nothing to do. Slept in, had brunch with tons of freshies. The Australians supplied the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) an Airbus to fly passengers down here because the air force helped them out with something last year. Sort of a thank you. It has been flying people down here all season (not me though), and it is big enough to put extra cargo on: new stuff for the shop, fresh fruit and vegetables, etc. So the last couple days there has been fruit and salad here, which is very nice. The Kiwis from Scott Base played their annual rugby game against the Americans today and delivered a royal butt whooping, as usual. I had to go to Willy Field while Paul was still awake in NH so that I could talk ... read more
Ice Breaker

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 11th 2009

If you haven't read bathroom poetry before...... read more
I Didn't Write It!!
Photo 3
Personal Favorite

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