Thursday, January 7, 2010

South Pole Station

Scheduled to fly to AGAP tomorrow, but worked this morning putting siding on the roof of the station. Today was sunny but windy. It was around nine below with 16 knot winds. With the windchill it works out to about 30 below. You have to bundle up especially on your face. I wore ski goggles that fit over some polar fleece that covers your nose and upper cheeks. Then you have a neck gator that covers your chin and lower cheeks but leaves your mouth open. You have to tape over the openings in the bottom of your goggles to keep them from getting filled with condensation. On top of that you have a heavy protective harness, a hard hat, kneepads and a tool belt. You're carrying a bit of weight. Its kindof like if you decided to wear half the clothes in your closet all at once. It is amazing how quickly you get use to it all. The hardest part is that you have to take it all off and put it back on for breaks and lunch.

Screwing down the panels on the roof.

The night shift carpenters taking apart the dome (the old station)

The ceremonial South Pole with the station in the background. The actual pole moves a little bit each year.

Next flight out.

The South Pole would normally have some of the cleanest air in the world, except for the fact that there is a lot of fuel burned here every day.

The Station

Second floor hallway of the station.

The stations galley.

Entrance to medical.

Exterior door to the cargo deck. They're just big freezer doors with plastic strips like you'd find at your local grocers.

Another freezer door.

Research: The 10 Meter South Pole Telescope. They're looking for dark matter. Don't ask me what dark matter is, they don't even know, but they do know it exists.
Another research project is IceCube. They are looking for nuetrinos by drilling one kilometer deep holes using hot water and then dropping round instruments called "DOM"s on cables into the holes. This array is one kilometer by one kilometer by one kilometer, hence the name "IceCube".

About sixty DOMs go into each hole.

One of the IceCube holes witha DOM going down.

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