Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finishing Up

Sunday. Today is our last full day here - the helos are supposed to arrive tomorrow afternoon to pull both us and our stuff out. We will leave on the Kiwi (Scott Base - New Zealand) helicopter.

We spent most of today doing last-minute things with the station - placing the temperature sensors, burying the station box and antenna cables, etc. We decided to deploy the '5th' antenna about 15 feet from the station, connected to the 'heartbeat' transmitter. This transmitter will send out signals at the beginning of a run, showing us that the antennae, etc. are working, and providing a reasonably stable (we hope) calibration beacon.

We also packed up all of our 'science' cargo - our tools and other returnables. Tomorrow, after breakfast, we will take down the tent and pack up camp before the helos arrive. One interesting part of this will be assembling the sling loads. There are tricks that we need to know - the bottom load should be heavier, with the heavier stuff goes in the bottom center of the sling - yet another thing I didn't learn in grad school. Although we took pictures of the load as-delivered, none of us have any experience with this - it should be interesting. Fortunately, the helo tech will check it before picking it up.

Dinner was Pad Thai. For dessert, we had vanilla 'pudding pops' - the good kind of yellow snow. You make a depression in the snow and pour in pudding, with a stick (we used our titanium sporks for this), and wait for the pudding to freeze. The pudding also diffused into the snow, making the edges more like a snow cone than frozen pudding. They were good, but they would have been a lot better if it were 60 degrees warmer outside.

Oh yes. Today's vocabulary word is "hockling" - when a rope gets twisted forming a knob. - from the instructions that came with our 1/4" rope.

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