Bot-house construction at Lake Bonney

October 24, 2009

Bill had left on Friday to help the carpenters set up the bot-house. The base of the bot-house consists of  set of 8×8 wooden blocks. Upon taking inventory, Bill found that 8 of those blocks were missing. Without those the bot-house cannot be built. Bill and the carpenters took rapid action and put in a request for the blocks, which were cut in the carpenter shop at McMurdo and delivered by helicopter to Lake Bonney by mid-afternoon Saturday. The base has almost been completed. Here is photo sent by Bill.

The bot-house base at West Lake Bonney. The robot will be flown in tomorrow morning and place on the platform. Then we will put on the cover and insulating layers.

The bot-house base at West Lake Bonney. The robot will be flown in tomorrow morning and placed on the platform. Then we will put on the cover and insulating layers. Photo thanks to Bill.

Meanwhile, we got everything packed and loaded them onto crates. The bot and the triwalls will be taken to the helicopter pad and flown to Bonney. All six of us also fly out tomorrow morning.

We have today “off”. This means brunch, then packing, laundry and cleaning up our rooms for room-inspection. Some of us took advantage of out night off Saturday and went to a party with live music in the carpenter shop. The next few days are going to be  a lot of hard work and perhaps stressful because we need to test the entire system and make sure everything works correctly.


Packing up and trip to Scott base

October 22, 2009

The weather improved dramatically yesterday. The wind has died down and good visibility is back. I never imagined that I would comment on a day with -17 Celsius that the weather is very pleasant! Chris and Bart worked on some battery related issues, Kristof and I worked on wall following code for glacier face mapping, Rachel, Vicky and Bill put together the vehicle and put it on “skis” for its flight on Monday (apart from other stuff). Helicopter flights are back on, and Bill leaves today for Bonney. We are working on packing up stuff and taking it to helo-ops.

We took a shuttle ride to Scott base (NZ station in Anatrctica) which is about 2 miles from McMurdo station.

Array of vehicles that perform various construction and transportation functions in McMurdo.

Array of vehicles that perform various construction and transportation functions in McMurdo.

Vicky and Rachel putting together the last pieces on the vehicle and taking care of any loose nuts, bolts and wires.

Vicky and Rachel putting together the last pieces on the vehicle and taking care of any loose nuts, bolts and wires.

Packing up the vehicle's batteries in their boxes.

Packing up the vehicle's batteries in their boxes.

The vehicle is covered to protect against cold and put on skis to facilitate smooth flying when it is slung from a helicopter.

The vehicle is covered to protect against cold and put on skis to facilitate smooth flying when it is slung from a helicopter.

Myself waiting for the shuttle to Scott base. I live in one of the dorms in the background.

Myself waiting for the shuttle to Scott base. I live in one of the dorms in the background.

Approaching Scott base.

Approaching Scott base.

Myself standing in front of Scott base.

Myself standing in front of Scott base.

Almost "sunset" at aorund 10:15 p.m. The sun just skims the horizon but never disappears.

Almost "sunset" at aorund 10:15 p.m. The sun just skims the horizon but never disappears.


Fixing the Profiler

December 14, 2008

Dec 8-9

We found that the profiler, which is the instrument package for collecting the lake data, faulted due to low temperature after being in the water for some time, and the software for the profiler would not reset the fault till the profiler had warmed up. This was obviously a major issue and had everyone stressed out. Bart finally came with the solution of taking out the profiler and installing a resistor to generate enough heat to prevent the temperature from going below the fault temperature. The team worked two long days taking out the profiler, fixing it, and reinstalling it on the bot. The problem was finally fixed and we will perform our first profiling mission tomorrow.

Part of the profiler is seen sitting on the ground.

Part of the profiler is seen sitting on the ground.

Inside the profiler pod.

Inside the profiler pod.

Mounting the profiler back on the robot.

Mounting the profiler back on the robot.

Bill mounting the profiler.

Bill mounting the profiler.

Testing the profiler.

Testing the profiler.


Putting together the robot

December 6, 2008

Dec 3

We had removed some of the the hardware from the robot because it was sensitive, and also to reduce the weight of the robot for helo-flight. We assembled most of the robot hardware today and organized the bot-house.

Vickie spent the day mounting various sensors on the robot.

Vickie spent the day mounting various sensors on the robot.

Chris, Bart and Bob working on the robot's battery

Chris, Bart and Bob working on the robot's battery

Most of the hardware has been mounted.

Most of the hardware has been mounted.

Dinner.

Dinner.

The sky had turned cloudy by evening. View from camp.

The sky had turned cloudy by evening. View from camp.

Bot-House seen from our camp.

Bot-House seen from our camp.


Bot-House setup at Blood Falls

December 6, 2008

Dec 2

Today was a very productive day. We finished setting up the tent with all the insulating layers. The carpenters and electricians flew in and installed the heating and electricity. We moved most of the robot stuff into the Bot-House. Maciej and Peter also melted the refrozen ice over the melthole.

Mounting the supports for the end wall.

Mounting the supports for the end wall.Action.

The Bot-House.

The Bot-House.

The helicopter with our stuff.

The helicopter with our stuff.

Peter on the frozen melthole.

Peter on the frozen melthole.

Installing the rails for the gantry inside the Bot-House.

Installing the rails for the gantry inside the Bot-House.

Re-melting the melthole with a heating coil.

Re-melting the melthole with a heating coil.

Pool of water from ice that has melted around the heater.

Pool of water from ice that has melted around the heater.

Peter setting up the ENDURANCE poster.

Peter setting up the ENDURANCE poster.


Notes from Team at Blood Falls

November 30, 2008

Kristof sent some emails and pictures from the camp. They have wireless access at the main Lake Bonney camp, which is 40 min by ATV from Blood Falls camp, where the team is staying. They celebrated Thanksgiving at the Lake Bonney Camp.  They started melting the second melthole on Saturday. Below are the pictures and captions sent by Kristof.

Nov 26

Bill at our camp with Blood Falls in the background.

Bill at our camp with Blood Falls in the background.

Unpacking the helo loads at the melthole.

Unpacking the helo loads at the melthole.

Maciej and Annika arriving at Blood Falls camp from L. Bonney Camp. Only Annika is seen in the picture.

Maciej and Annika arriving at Blood Falls camp from L. Bonney Camp. Only Annika is seen in the picture.

Nov 27

Bill and Peter checking level on the floor beams.

Bill and Peter checking level on the floor beams.

Vickie working on the floor.

Vickie working on the floor.

Nov 28
Setting up the Hotsy for melthole.

Setting up the Hotsy for melthole.

Bob and Bart in our red living room Polar Haven at Blood Falls Camp.

Bob and Bart in our red living room Polar Haven at Blood Falls Camp.

 Nov 29
Thanksgiving dinner at L. Bonney Camp.

Thanksgiving dinner at L. Bonney Camp.

Walking by the ventifacts near L. Bonney Camp.

Walking by the ventifacts near L. Bonney Camp.


Packing up for Bonney

November 26, 2008

Nov 24

We finished packing up and weighing stuff for Lake Bonney today. We also took down the tent and dismantled the platform. Photos thanks to Robin.

The robot with "skis".

The robot with "skis"

Dismantling.

Dismantling.

Taking down the tent.

Taking down the tent.

Folding the tent.

Bob and Bill folding the tent.

Chris folding the insulating panels.

Chris folding the insulating panels.

Peter and Bob taking down the arches.

Peter and Bob taking down the arches.