Another update from the ice

Submitted by anelles on Sat, 11/26/2016 - 15:44

After we all had been wondering, how the two newcomers to Antarctica could possibly enjoy it so much, there is finally evidence that they are human.

Lisa: "Cold feet, no matter what you do, they are always cold!!! Well, that is not true, when we are outside and work (shovel snow) they are warm. That is the reason why I prefer to be outside, no matter what weather (sunshine or storm). But after getting desperate and not wanting to use the environmental unfriendly toe warmers (which I did when it was really bad), I got myself some new shoes, and Hans improved them with a touch of pink (see picture). I nope no designer will steal the idea for new winter shoe outfit."

Foam shoes

Despite Lisa being a vegan (more like a vegetarian right now, as surviving without tons of butter, cheese and chocolate would be pretty difficult ... calories have to come from somewhere), her cooking capabilities have apparently not failed anyone yet: "The last time I prepared meat was 15 years ago and it was frozen fish sticks. Every second day I am preparing meat now and ask the others how it turned out, surprisingly it turned out quite good. Good enough that Hans gave up cooking and takes every morning shift now (because he wakes up before Chris and me anyway.) Also according to his own words he >>got beaten in terms of cooking by a vegan and an American!<< Apparently rumor has it that Americans can only prepare fast food. However, Chris is by far the best cook we have."

The team made it through two snow-storms, but apparently also that could not break the spirit. We keep hearing about "Days in Paradise" in the update mails ... somehow, memories of back-pain, joint-pain and dry lips beg to differ. But, if you are asking for it: Steve has already asked for an extension for the team of additional four days. Happy to help to give you some more of these cool impressions, like actual real new snowflakes:

Sowflakes

Science wise, also good progress is being made.

First stop, however, having to find a tricky noise leak in our new boxes. As we are a radio experiment, everything relies on the fact that we cannot make radio noise with our own instrumentation that we would then afterwards measure. Since all electronic equipment that switches and changes currents makes radio noise, everything has to be shielded. Using the fact that Faraday predicted that no electric field can enter/leave a closed box, which is conducting (the reason while you are relatively safe in your car during a thunderstorm), we just box everything. But since we also want to keep the smallest of smallest fields out, our boxes need to be thick metal with no open holes at all. Turns out that  floating connector (who sells those anyway) really is more like a hole and let's electronic noise through. The team bravely debugged this in the tent and now the data of our new station is looking great.

HCR tower

Equipped with sightly different antennas from our Taiwanese colleagues, we would like to better understand potential radio noise from the direction of McMurdo and test whether we can also maybe see neutrino signals coming out of the mountain. Without digging too deep now into particle physics, there is one flavor of neutrinos, that turns into a particle - the tau - that travels a while and then makes a shower, which gives us radio emission. So, you could potentially see a particle coming out of the mountain and then gain sensitivity to this particular flavor. Sounds cool, so let's see how good this works.

Also drilling holes for in ice studies is going well. Well, after  maybe having sunk one of the drills, the other one keeps going. It will be interesting to see how deep they can go and how sending signals from one hole to the other turns out. We will be staying tuned.

Drilling