HomeUncategorized11-07-08: Project Ice Cube

At the South Pole – one of the MANY activities/projects going on are the placement of sensors deep into the snow to locate neutrinos. 

From Wikipedia:  Neutrinos are elementary particles that travel close to the speed of light, lack an electric charge, are able to pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed and are thus extremely difficult to detect. Neutrinos have a minuscule, but nonzero mass.

Last year I met people who do the actual drilling of the holes to place the sensors. It is a complicated procedure which requires HOT water!  Last night – at the dinner table, I met a man whose job is to fill the holes!!!  Basically, he makes a 650 GALLON ice cube!  (Into which must be pure water and of course the sensors located at different depths.)  It takes about 50 days to ‘freeze’, but they allow 53 days.  He is anxiously awaiting his turn to get flown to the Pole, so he can get started.

http://icecube.wisc.edu/outreach/interviews/  I found this site – for anyone who would like more info!

Back to driving in snow. Yesterday was one of the prettiest for blowing snow. There were NO clouds – so the sun was incredibly BRILLIANT. I don’t know how the first explorers came away with any eyesight left!  I tried to remove my sunglasses for a moment and was immediately sorry!  Anyway – the snow was very low to the ground (most of the time) – and was mesmerizing in how it twirled and swirled in an eerie route. Almost like a giant, waving vacuum was sucking the snow away.  It doesn’t just blow in a northern or southern direction – it undulates and moves as though alive!!!  It also FILLS in the lower portions of the “roller coaster” area along the pressure ridges.  I did the first trip of the day in IVAN the Terra Bus. (68,000 POUNDS), and he plowed right through, with some slowing down at the tops.  My second time through was in a pax delta.  (Gale) She’s lighter and a sissy.  (We have 3 passenger deltas. Delta Dawn, Gale, and Tina Marie -my favorite!).  Gale has speed.  By golly, I bet she gets up to 33mph on a good day! However in the snow drifts, she gets bogged down easily. She’s also susceptible to “cold” so breaks down frequently. Delta Dawn is a sturdy gal. Solid- slow -and reliable.  Whereas Tina Marie -well, I tell people “She is a screamer!!”.  All of her joints and belts literally SCREAM when you make her move.  We do let them warm up for a good 20 minutes before driving.  I guess you could say she is NOT a morning person, who is constantly being made to MOVE in the mornings!  She was my favorite last year, and is again!!!


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11-07-08: Project Ice Cube — 1 Comment

  1. Yesterday we had a BEAUTIFUL full rainbow in the late afternoon. Do rainbows form in Antarctica?

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