Archive for December, 2007

Science Pack Up

The Science team have been extremely busy over the last few months packing up a lot of the science equipment in preparation for the arrival of the ship. To make room for the construction team and their supplies some of the science that has been happening at Halley must be interrupted for the duration of the build.

The geologger lab before and after Electronics lab before and after
The geologger lab, before and after it is converted into a conference room. One of our electronics labs had to be merged with another one to make space for the construction team.

Some of the experiments will be run at other locations before returning to refurbished facilities in two years time. Other experiments will be returned to Cambridge for upgrades and development work, while our most critical long term monitoring will continue at Halley throughout the construction project. This has meant a certain amount of relocation, with all our remaining experiments being crammed into a lot less space. Continuing experiments include Dobson Ozone measurements, the Search Coil Magnetometer, Ground ozone measurements, Bomem optical studies, Very Low Frequency radio studies, meteorology, daily weather balloon launches, air and snow sampling and more.

Ongoing science Boxes in a container
Ongoing science in the Dobson room and the new meteorology office. Boxes start to fill one of the outgoing shipping containers.

Since packing back in September, the science team have packaged and consigned approximately 6000kg of cargo in over 100 boxes. With the end now near I suspect none of them will miss the sight of bubble wrap or packing tape for some time!

An empty office Empty shelves ready to be filled
The Simpson Office is emptied to make room for supplies that need to be kept warm. Empty shelves ready to receive cargo during relief.
Link | Posted by Simon in Science, Construction on December 21st, 2007

The Season Begins

The start of the first construction season has now well and truly begun, in fact so much so that we haven’t had a chance to update the website for quite a while!

The Halley VI trial module is now complete, with the first module successfully assembled in Cape Town last month and now is disassembled ready to go onto the ship. The process of constructing the trial module identified some difficulties, which now resolved should help speed up progress at Halley when each module is finally put together.

A completed module in Cape Town

A completed module in Cape Town. It is without skis and pictured at its lowest setting, on site it will stand considerably higher off the snow.

The Ernest Shackleton has just finished loading cargo in Cape Town and set sail a few days ago heading for Halley. She is due to arrive before Christmas, but first has to work her way through a great deal of ice to reach the Halley coast. The Amderma, our huge cargo ship is now loading cargo in Cape Town, and will follow the Shackleton south in a few days time. You can see the progress of both ships, along with the Polar Stern (a German research vessel) on the chart below:

A tracking map showing the progress of the ships.

A tracking map showing the progress of the ships. The Ernest Shackleton is shown in green, the Amderma is in black. The red areas show regions currently covered in sea ice.

Although the most visible work will occur at the Halley V site this season (the building of the modules), there will be a team working out at the Halley VI site laying power and data cables and digging in the foundations for the masts and towers. So they know exactly where to put them we have been out to the Halley VI site to survey some of the key locations. Karl, the Project Manager and Steve the Building Supervisor have spent several days out at Halley VI precisely marking out the site. With a background in Civil Engineering, it seems an opportunity for Karl to get out the office and back behind the sights of a theodolite was not to be missed!

Karl surveying at the Halley VI site

Karl surveying at the Halley VI site

Another key task was to mark out the boundary of the Halley VI Clean Air Sector. This region will contain the new Clean Air Laboratory, so it is vitally important that we ensure the pristine snow is not polluted during construction. To avoid this we have set up a 1km exclusion zone around the site of the new lab, with a single access road and tight restrictions in place during construction.

Flags marking the boundary of the Clean Air Sector

Flags and a signpost marking the boundary of the Clean Air Sector

Link | Posted by Simon in Science, Construction on December 9th, 2007