December 15, 2012 Working
At the South Pole, the typical work week goes from Monday through Saturday. Sunday is usually the day off. Last week, I got here on a Saturday around lunch time so I didn't have to work that day, which was good because the altitude here means that people really need to take it easy for the first couple days. So, Saturday and Sunday were my rest days and then, on Monday, I began working.
The week started with a tour of the IceCube building (the ICL) so that I could get acquainted with everything that's there.
After that, I helped out various people with various things. This was a big week because the plan was to move the drill from in front of the ICL (which is about 1km away from the South Pole Station) to a site called ARA-2 (which is about 5 km away and in the middle of nowhere). ARA-2 is the one of 37 planned stations that will make up ARA. Each station will have 6 holes and between every three stations, there will be a wind turbine. (Geometry question: do you think it would be better to have the wind turbine at the circumcenter of the triangle formed by the stations or at the incenter? Why?)
Because of the move, there was a lot to do this week. The drill team was busy testing out their drilling equipment and techniques. (More about this in an upcoming post). So, I did what I could to help out and to learn about the work.
Here are some of the things I did this week:
- hooked up antennae so they could be tested
- helped build a door for the control room for the drill
- helped replace a part on one of the heaters
- learned to check the instrumentation that needs to be checked while a hole is being drilled. (It has to be checked every 10 meters which is about once every 15 minutes, depending on the speed of the drill).
- taped cables onto the drilling rig so that they wouldn't be on the ground when the rig got moved
- made graphs using the data from drilling one of the test holes.
The drilling crew successfully drilled a 200m hole in front of the IceCube lab and so we go the go ahead to move to ARA-2. And that's a big enough story that it's going to get its own post.