Monday, November 24, 2008
Air Sample Day
Air temp : -35.6C
Wind chill: -51.3C
Wind speed: 12.8 kts
Okay, so the air sample was actually taken yesterday, but by the time we took the sample, the internet was down for the day!
Cully and I had a morning full of daily checks to do out at ARO (Atmospheric Research Observatory). We decided to head back to the station at about 1230-ish for some lunch, after which we got pulled towards the direction of the gym, where a lonely ping pong table sat, just waiting to be played! Cully and I decided last year that if I wound up on the ice with him for a year, that there would be an epic battle over the table....scoreboards, T-shirts, trophies, everything! Right now, the game tally is pretty close, but it's a long year, anything can happen. We'll keep you posted!
After we recovered, it was time to head back out to ARO and take some air samples. I went the long way, around the old dome, and then on towards the Clean Air Sector.
I wanted to get a couple pictures along the way. Unfortunately, I waited too long and the snow had blown over the majority of what I wanted to show you, but I'm sure they will happen again, and get bigger as well. If you have followed other Antarctica blogs, you might have heard about sustrugi, but as the wind blows the snow around, it forms some pretty interesting shapes (as well as walking obstacles) when it finally stays put. I found some sustrugi that was developed by somebody's footprints. The person's weight compacted the snow, and the wind blew around the footprints...pretty cool!
I caught up to Cully on his way out behind ARO where the Clean Air Sector is located, and he went through the steps of retrieving air from that location. The trick for us, so we didn't contaminate the sample, was to turn on the pump inside the case and stand downwind for about 10 minutes. When Cully was ready, he went up to the case, having already exhaled all the air out of his lungs (so that if he did anything right by the samples, he would breath in rather than out), opened the box and started the air flow into the flasks, and then hustled back downwind to start breathing again. Two to three minutes later, he went back to the case to turn off the pump. Once the pump was turned off, he could start breathing again, and close up the flasks and come back inside.
Yesterday was a pretty normal day, but today, we are walking over to a project site called Ice Cube, to get a familiarization tour of the area. We are going to have an emergency drill sometime on the 2nd of December on that facility, so we figured it would be a good idea to head over there and see what we could use to our advantage. Let you know how the walk through goes tomorrow!