6 December 2017 First Day with the ARA Drilling Team

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Garret D.
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ARA Drilling

Miss Anderson,
I'm Garret from Mr. Penn's class. We are watching your mission. My class has some question and I get to be the one who gets to write to you. How many holes will you drill? We had a joke that your job was "Boring" ha ha. How long will it take to drill all of your holes? Will sensors be put in the holes like the Icecube project? Is there a place for you to get warm on the dirlling sight? What is your job on the sight? Thank you, Garret

Hi Garret, thanks for the

Hi Garret, thanks for the great questions! Yes, we are doing a lot of "boring" work down here :) We are aiming to drill 2-3 stations this season with 6 instrument strings at each of the stations. There is a small site called the MECC where we can get warm while we are working. This is also a good place for us to work on some of the parts that are not attached to the drill train itself. So far I have helped with a number of jobs at the drill train, everything from soldering to splicing electrical wires, to trouble shooting broken switches, engineering ways for sensors to detect temperature of glycol, to shoveling snow! Every day is different, and it has been amazing to get to work on many different aspects of the drill.

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Morning Pod Questions

Hello, Ms. Lesley! Your work with the drill team seems really interesting - and cold! It's still really warm in Chula Vista, so it's hard for us to imagine just how cold it is in the South Pole. Here are our questions:

1. Are you working with the ARA drill team the whole time you're there?
2. How many people are working in the team?
3. What has been your best experience so far?
4. How do you get hot water for the drilling?

And, lastly, we read about how you've been exercising at the station, so how much do you lift?

- Morning Pod

Hi morning pod!

Hi morning pod!

I am working with the ARA and IceCube teams this season, but ARA drilling was the first step that needed to happen before we can deploy the strings with sensors. Starting this week I will be helping out the ARA deployment team and also checking in to help the drillers periodically. On Sunday I helped IceCube lay lines in trenches for a scintillator deployment. I'll be posting a journal about that project soon. There are 5 drillers and about 14 ARA and IceCube folks here right now, including our two winterovers (who will be here for 14 months). My favorite thing so far was riding the snowmobile to work and playing golf at the the South Pole marker. We get hot water from a tank. We use generators to heat up the water in a tank that we use for drilling. I can lift at least one shovel worth of snow ;)

Miss you all, good luck with your PoLs!

Aaron (Morning Pod)
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Questions for Ms. Lesley

Hey Ms. Lesley, Hope you're having fun in the South Pole!

Here are our questions for you today:

1. How heavy are the power tools?
2. What is the 'carrot drill' made out of?
3. Is it hard to work in high altitude?
4. How far away can you feel the drill?
5. Are engineers scientists?
6. Is drilling fun?
7. What are some of examples of problem solving that you saw?
8. Have you eaten any of the snow?

Hope to hear from you soon!

Good morning Aaron, did you

Good morning Aaron, did you switch pods? :)

The power tools we use are exactly like ones you might see at home. We have a full working shop and we use all the same types of tools out here. The only challenge is the cold temperature - trying to use a drill and touching metal screws can really make it cold on your hands, especially when you need to take your gloves off briefly for some fine tuned work. The carrot has a lot of different mechanical components to it, but the orange wire that is running around the outside is copper. It is extremely difficult to work at high altitude. I still get winded walking up the stairs. It takes almost twice as long to complete tasks that require physical labor because you run out of oxygen so quickly. I shoveled snow today and had to stop at least 4 times just to catch my breath. Today was the first day that a hole was drilled and I had to return to the station for a training, so I don't know how far away you can feel the drill. So far we have just been doing maintenance to set the drill up and that has been a lot of fun learning about electronics and mechanics. Sometimes scientists can be engineers and the other way around, but often they will go to school for one or the other and then specialize in that field. The most productive teams I've seen are those that include both scientists and engineers that understand the science and engineering work of their counterparts. We had a challenge the other day with a circuit that didn't work properly. This was for the emergency stop on the drill, so a pretty important part. We ended up testing the voltage for each of the independent cables in a linear system, starting with the first cable that we knew worked. This way we were able to systematically determine which of the lines was working and which we would need to replace. Funny you should mention eating snow. We actually don't have a lot of powder snow here like you might be used to if you've ever been skiing. It's mostly hard compact ice here. But we do have a group of scientists that brings in clean ice from the Clean Air Sector outside of the South Pole station weekly. This is arguably the cleanest ice in the world. We used the ice in our sodas to keep our drinks cool...and boy was it good ice!

Good luck on PoL's this week!!

Michael Penn
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Stations installed?

Lesley, I know that there are 37 stations proposed to be installed in the array. You mentioned that the project is behind schedule and that the equipment has not been used for several years. How many holes have been drilled so far and how many are expected to be drilled this year?
Mike in Pittsburgh

Hi Mike, thanks for your

Hi Mike, thanks for your questions! This year we are hoping to deploy at least two stations, possibly a third if there is enough time. There will be six instrument strings at each of the stations. We began drilling our first hole today! It was very exciting!

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Weather Summary: Clear skies
Temperature: -25F
Wind Chill: -48F

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