Update from Antarctica: Preparing for Erebus
Nial Peters is officially On The Ice, with Clive Oppenheimer closely behind him. While making preparations in McMurdo, he’s taken some time out to send us some updates about this year’s exciting new projects including sending mains power to the crater rim for year-round science obs — a first at Erebus!
I’ve been run off my feet doing all the training courses and trying to sort gear ready for next week, so I don’t have any good photos yet (I haven’t left the Crary lab!). I’ve attached a few pics of the field preparations for you.
So for now it is just Aaron Curtis and I in McMurdo. We are due to head up to our acclimatisation camp, Fang, next Wednesday, and then up to Lower Erebus Hut (LEH) on Friday. Clive and Co. are arriving on the ice on Monday and then coming up to Fang on Friday. Lots to do before then!
Aaron working on a new webcam for the Erebus hut in our office in the Crary Lab. This is going to be mounted inside a dome on the roof of the garage hut and will be controllable by the public over the internet.
Charging new lead-acid batteries before they are flown up to LEH. These are going to provide extra storage capacity for the winter-over power system for the hut. This will allow us to maintain an internet connection at the hut year-round, giving access to instruments located at the hut (just webcams for now, but with plans for more in the future!).
Some of the parts for the new Erebus rim power system. The orange peli case houses the 12V power supply that will be stationed at the rim. To the right of that is the new low-temperature inverter which will convert the 12V supply from the battery banks at Nausea Knob (the power generation site) to 240V before it is sent up the volcano to the summit (a distance of about 0.5 km). The items in the foreground are some of the junction boxes and a short section of the cable which we are going to lay between Nausea Knob and the crater rim. The cable has been split into 10 sections, each weighing ~40 kg. This will all have to be laid by hand! However, it will be worth the effort - this will be the first year that we have year-round mains power at the crater rim, allowing us to run instruments over the winter. This is a huge step! Previously we have only been able to collect 2-3 weeks of data per year, now we will be collecting 52 weeks of data per year.
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