Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The IceCube Construction Season

ARIANNA is not the only experiment with a successful construction season. IceCube also had a great season. They deployed 20 strings into the South Pole ice (beating their goal), and finished a week early.

This is a very impressive achievement. 2500 meter deep (1 1/2 miles), 60 cm (about 2 feet) diameter holes are drilled in the ice, and strings (cables) of 60 optical modules are lowered into the hole. The photo above shows the drill head, which is moved from hole to hole. The holes are drilled with a water jet that shoots 200 gallons/minute of water at 88 degrees (Centrigrade) through a 1.8 cm (about 3/4 inch) diameter nozzle at a pressure of 200 pounds per square inch.
Drilling each hole takes about 40 hours, plus another 12 hours for deploying the strings. This photo shows a DOM being lowered down the hole.

LBNL postdoc Lisa Gerhardt has just returned from the South Pole, where she worked on testing the deployed strings. She kept a nice blog. Laura Gladstone (U Wisconsin) also kept a blog of her trip. There are accounts of past trips (with tons of pictures) elsewhere. In view of all of these other accounts, I will be brief and end here.

[n.b. These two photos are from my 2006 trip]


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