Test Build of Platform – Day 1

November 20, 2008

The components of our platform finally arrived yesterday, and we test-built a major part of it today in McMurdo. We will set up the gantry and the tent tomorrow, and we hope to be done by the afternoon. The assembly involved a lot of measuring, levelling, heavy lifting, screwing and bolting. We received much help and tips from Chad. Robin, Maciej, Annika and Thaona worked with us all day. The platform was excellently designed by Bill. We finished assembling most of the platform in 9 hours.

Mounting the beams after everything has been levelled.

Mounting the beams after all the supports have been levelled.

Lifting and setting the 400 lbs panels.

Lifting and setting the 400 lbs panels.

Mounting the plywood tops after the heavy panels have been bolted.

Mounting the plywood tops after the heavy panels have been bolted.

The Moon-Pool through which the robot will got through the melthole.

The moon-pool through which the robot will go through the melthole.

Robin and Maciek have a lighter moment.

Robin and Maciej have a light moment.


Ice Caves and Seals

November 20, 2008

Nov 19

I went to see ice caves today. These are “caves” in Erebus glacier tongue on the Ross sea. They were absolutely stunning. I would have appreciated the full extent of their beauty even more if I had the knowledge of some important facts – how they are formed, how they evolve and how they were discovered.  I will fill in more information about these as I find out more.  For now, I will let the pictures do the talking.

We drove to the Ice Caves in a Delta.

We drove to the Ice Caves in a Delta.

Just outside the cave.

Just outside the cave.

People entering the cave.

People entering the cave.

Myself at the cave entrance.

Myself at the cave entrance.

Inside the cave.

Inside the cave.

On the way back I got to ride in the front of the Delta.

On the way back I got to ride in the front of the Delta.

On the way back, we stopped to see seals on the Ross sea ice.

On the way back, we stopped to see seals on the Ross sea ice.


Technical and Logistics Issues

November 20, 2008

Nov 17-19: 

Technical

Peter Doran (P.I.) and John Priscu (co-investigator) decided on the basis of previous data of  Lake Bonney that there is significant variation in the water properties with depth close to the surface. Our initial plan  was to have the robot cruise at some depth “h” below the ice, stop at pre-defined grid points, and spool out the instrument package to measure water properties up to a depth “d”, “d” being greater than “h”.  Since the instrument can only spool down, this left the water from depth 0 to h unexplored. To resolve this,  the team came up with the idea that the bot will cruise at depth d, float up to the ice surface at grid-points, use a set of “feet” to maintain contact with the ice, and then spool the science package. This brought up the problem
of fabricating the feet. Bart, Bill and Vickie, with help form Chad managed to fabricate and install the feet today, while Krisof and I planned out the mission planning scripts and  software modifications.

Logistics
Maciej Obryk and Annika Taylor returned from Lake Bonney today. Maciej has finished melting the hole.

We also planned out the logistics of moving to Lake Bonney today. Ideally, we would like to get the camp set up, the bot set on the  platform, the tent built and the heating  installed before Thanksgiving. However, there is a lot of work to be done and we might not make it. We wre required to test build everything in
McMurdo before moving to Bonney. Hence, we will start building the platform tomorrow. The electricians will likely do their work on Saturday/ Monday-Tuesday.

Food

Vickie and Bill went to decide what food to take to Bonney. Robin’s photos.

Bill.

Bill.

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Some McMurdo Pictures

November 20, 2008

Some pictures from McMurdo. Will add more as they come. Photos thanks to Bob.

Signboard

Signboard

 

Front of the National Science Foundation building. International relations relating to Antarctica are governed by the Antarctic Treaty System.

Front of the National Science Foundation building. International relations relating to Antarctica are governed by the Antarctic Treaty System.

Vehicle. ( I haven't found out the name yet).

Vehicle. ( I haven't found out the name yet.)

More vehicles.

More vehicles.