Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tour de Station

No matter how many times I've seen the sights around station, it's always fun to go on another tour. Last night our Winter Site Manager Katie led 5 of us on a tour around nearly the entire outlying areas of the station as a familiarization of the buildings and emergency response gear stashed in them.

After visiting the New Power Plant, the Logistics facility under construction, the Vehicle Maintenance Facility under the arches next to the Elevated Station, we took a ride to the outlying buildings in an LMC 1800, a tracked vehicle that barely fit the 6 of us. The tracks really chew up the snow and since we were going to drive over the skiway, we didn't want to leave it rutted with irregularities that would build over the winter into monster sastrugi. We attached a dragger to the back of the LMC to smooth over the tracks...yes it's a bedspring, a bit ghetto but it worked just fine.

The first stop was the Dark Sector and the South Pole Telescope, the giant 10 meter telescope installed last year that is scanning the skies for cosmic microwave background radiation from the Big Bang.

Here's a view of SPT from a window at the Dark Sector Lab next to it.
Then we went to MAPO then the Ice Cube Lab as pictured above. Ice Cube is a huge project looking for neutrinos using an array of detectors buried deep into the ice.
The most fascinating thing about this part of the tour was that they had their U-barrels (or pee barrels) outside but the commode inside was a little more civilized.
The tour then took us out to the Marisat Radome but we couldn't go inside because the satellite just came up and we would have been bombarded by microwave radiation. We did go into the RF building then back through Summer Camp and ended up at the Balloon Inflation Facility or BIF and the Cryogenics building.

The BIF.

A few posts ago when I was flying down here in the C-17, we were fellow cargomates with a large helium dewar. I don't know if this is the same one but the Cryo building has plenty of different types and sizes of dewars for the science experiements.

The last stop was ARO but it was getting late and I needed to get back to the station. Actually I really needed to pee but I just couldn't bring myself to use the pee barrel outside...


At 1:08 PM, Blogger Neal said...

I get all misty-eyed looking at your blog. I sorta wish I was there, but at the same time I'm glad that I'm not.

At 1:49 AM, Blogger rediron said...

Some things never change. We towed a similar contraption behind a D-2 Caterpillar tractor to groom our landing strip dubbed “Ikes Pike” in 1956 during initial construction at 90° South.

At 2:48 AM, Blogger rediron said...

PS The bathroom facilities haven't improved either!

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

Neal - we miss you and reminisce with all kinds of Payot stories late at night in the Galley.

Rediron - Thanks again for the photos and stories. Did you get my email? I hope I have the right address.


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