Deploying string #47

Me inside the TOS

The other day, er night, I worked in the TOS deploying DOMs (the light detectors I described earlier) onto string #47. There I am, looking like I know what I’m doing. It took all night long do to this, after about 10 DOMs you get the hang of your job. There were 5 of us working the various tasks needed to deploy: working the winches (there are two we use during deployment), pulling the DOMs off the racks, checking their connectors and getting them ready for deployment, preparing the cable breakouts from the string for attaching the electronics and cables of the DOM to the string, attaching the DOM (which requires a little dance with the two winches getting the cable to bend around the DOM, putting the load on the DOM’s cables) taping all the various cables, chains, etc. down before dropping the DOM and the next 17 meters of the string into the ice.

The above photo is me standing at the winch control for “the drop” – which is after all 60 DOMs have been attached and we lower the remainder of the string (the black cable there) down the final 1500km down into the hole. I’m just standing there with my finger on a button. Tough, highly skilled work, that is.

Looking down the hole

Those holes are pretty ominous looking. This is actually looking down hole #57 from a few days earlier than #47 but they look the same. The craggily edges of the hole are formed from the fern drill as it descends. The fern layer is the first 50 meters of packed-powder (which is all you can see here) below that is solid ice. There is a different style drill for the fern layer than the ice. You might be able to make out the difference between the two drill heads in the top photo: the main drill is in front with the black calipers and the fern drill is behind it with the copper tubing. Basically the fern drill melts its way down and the main drill shoots compressed hot water blasting it’s way down the remaining 2400km.

Here’s a movie I took of a DOM going down hole #47. It needs some editing and better lighting but it might give you a better idea of what we’re doing. Of course the movie can’t make you feel the constant flow of ice cold air being sucked up through that hole in the sub-floor under the TOS, which makes working over that hole, attaching the DOM, a rather chilly job.

2 Responses to “Deploying string #47”

  1. Shelli Says:

    I love the pop-rock anthem soundtrack. You all down there, swaying with your lighters…

  2. Carmen Says:

    Yes, the music was pretty stellar.

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