søndag 11. juli 2010

More updates from Greenland.

Tomorrow I`ve spent two weeks here at Summit. The last week has been quite exciting with lots of ups and downs. On Monday we had a mis-launch of the Cryowing when the brute force from the catapult shred one of the tailplanes leaving the airframe uncontrollable after it left the launch rail. The resulting crash was not very hard and the aiframe only got some minor damage.

By Thursday we`d all been working hard, and the plane was ready for another flight, after som re-engineering of the tailmounts. This time the launch was uneventfull and 1 hour and 10 minutes of flying time was rewarded with one of the smoothest landings I`ve ever performed. But as I said there has been lots of ups and downs this week...

After retriving the plane we started to transfer the scientific data that we had collected during the flight. We the discovered that the albedo mesuring spectrometers onboard had stoppet and that we only had been recording data for the first 5 min. Bummer!

The next few days Torbjørn spent a lot of time trying to find out what had gone wrong. At first we thought that this was a simple software problem that could be fixed easily. After emailing back and forth with our engineers in Tromsø and the producer of the instrument we discovered that the problem was a hardware problem that wasn`t going to an easy fix out here in the field.

Since we only have on working set of spectrometers that are being used by Wiley for ground measurements, we have to wait until the next Herc arrives with replacements the 21st of July. Until then we`ll spend the time on getting a second airframe ready...

Well, enough airplane talk for now. Let`s talk a bit about life at Summit:

First of all I have to say that the food up here is GREAT! Tina, our chef makes sure that we all get fed well. One thing I`ve noticed is that I drink about three times as much water up here then what I do back home. This is a result of the thin air and lack of moisture.

Sleeping in tents is not as bad as it sounds. The first nights I had a problem with my sleeping bag freezeing around the opening because of my breathing. I also had some problems with nosebleeds in the morning. This problems went away by them self within the first week. Even if its -27 degrees celsius some nights I`m really not cold. A great tip is to use a bottle of hot water in the fot-end of the sleeping bag. Another thing is to drink water before going to sleep as this helps to increase the blood volume. On the other hand, having to go to the toillet in the middle of the night is a pain...Since I came up here, construction workers have been working hard on raising the "Big House" .

The Big House needs to be raised because the Greenland icecap is accumulating each year with 1-3m depending on where its measured. The Big House is where we eat all our meals and spend some of our freetime, when we are lucky enough to have some.

The people up here is like a big family and everyone feel as a part of it, whatever nationality. We are a mixed group ranging from construction workers to scientists and arcitects. The one thing we all have in common is a love for the Arctic and outdoor lifestyle. Some of the people have spent most of their grown up life traveling and working at different Arctic locations, including Antarctica. Most of the people are Americans from Alaska, but we even have people from New Zealand working here.

This week I also got to take part in some of Wileys ground research and collected my very first snow samples. Yesterday I also got to have a drink with ice that came from deep core samples. This ice is supercompressed and several thousand years old. It makes a "popping" sound in the drink or on your tounge when it realeases air that probably have been trapped for longer than we humans have been here.

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