Monthly Archives: December 2012

MAAG, Traverse and Ob Hill



The traverse left for Lake Willans yesterday afternoon.  Here is a link of the traverse guys rolling out.

The WISSARD Traverse began its ~12 day journey to Subglacial Lake Whillans, today December 30th. WISSARDS gathered at the WISSARD test site to wish the traverse team well. The traverse travels an average of 7 miles an hour with 12 tractors towing wissard drill and science equipment. The traverse team hopes to reach the sheer zone, 20 miles from the WISSARD test site, on Day 1

We will be in town building another small hot water drill until January 14th when we fly out to the field site.


Each year McMurdo has an art show in the carpentry shop.  This wheel of death was out in front of the entrance for people to get hurt on.














Inside this tent was he video footage of the SCINI robot going downhole in test hole we drilled.


Downhole footage




Observation Hill





Climbing Ob Hill




National Geographic Article

Here is an article about the drilling going on this season including our project.  Its really not a race though.

Volcanic Crystals


These are crystals that were once lava and ejected out of Mt. Erebus.






This dude is from Oregon.



This quote was hanging up in the galley.  I like it.



The new drill camp.




Here is a small assembly I designed at the last minute in Lincoln before we came down.  Its purpose is to provide a place to clamp the ducting that protects the hose (not shown) from dirt and dust when we are drilling.  The U shaped brace clamps to the crescent using a grid of 16 soft tipped set screws and the tube is held using two heim joints so that it can pivot as the hose changes angles.



Heres another example of parts that I designed for the project.  This is a set of teflon rollers designed to prevent the hose from exceeding its minimum bend radius and kinking.  The hitch pins are there so that it can be removed easily and quickly.  I got to do the machining and fabrication on this stuff (not the rollers) in Lincoln.  Lathes and milling machines make me happy.



Heres a view looking down the hose as it travels into the container.  There is another roller assembly down there as well as a hose washing system that I designed in Lincoln this summer.   Ill get into that some other time.




Antarctic BBQ hosted by Mt. Erebus.




LDB-Long Duration Balloon


We had the opportunity to visit the NASA Long Duration Balloon facility this week.  There are two of these tall buildings that house the payloads for the balloons.   The payloads that we saw were both telescopes that are being used to look back in time to understand how the universe evolved from the big bang to its present state.  When the scientist that was giving the tour explained that I had to correct her.  She kept calling it a telescope but I had to tell her that it was actually a time machine.

It took me a second to process that.  How is it possible to look into the past without a Deloreon and a flux capacitor?  All you need is a telescope.  It all starts with the speed of light, 186,000 MILES per Second.  Fast.  Fast enough to travel to the sun (93,000,000 miles) in 500 seconds.  One hundred eighty six thousand miles per second.  The moon is 239,000 miles away and it takes light just 1.3 seconds to get to the moon.  So everytime you look at the moon you are seeing it as it was 1.3 seconds ago.  Extrapolate that out to the nearest star in our galaxy which is 4 light years away.  4 years of travelling at 186000 miles per second to get to our closest star neighbor.  When light from that star is collected by a telescope it is a snapshot of that star as it was 4 years ago.

Distance and time are analogous in space.  Time and money are analogous on Earth.  So they say.

One of my favorite facts:  The milky way galaxy is 100,000 light years across and 1000 light years in thickness.  There are between 100-200 billion other galaxies other than the milky way.  That makes my head explode to think about.


Payload 1.  This is what is suspended from the balloon.  Its a telescope/time machine.



Payload 2.  Another telescope.  Everything on these payloads is sacrificial.  Sometimes they are recovered without damage but rarely.

The balloon on these when at altitude (120,000 feet) is as large as the interior of a football stadium.

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