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