Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2003/04

   

   
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Thursday, January 15, 2004

HOT, HOT, HOT!

Hi All,

today started out pretty standard - I stumped around the base, writing out cargo sheets for manifests, chasing down computer people etc etc. It meant that it was after lunch before I arrived out at AASTO where I would meet Crazy Billy who would help me re-install the tower webcamera. I stepped into the AASTO, and whoosh, nearly passed out. It was boiling in there! I staggered over to the heater, and noticed that someone (there had been both computer and electrical-type people in there after me yesterday) had gotten a bit chilly and turned the heat up full and then left. My bleary eyes moved over to the temperature gauge that normally sits in front of the webcamera and saw that it had maxed out at 120F (or 50C)! This meant it was at *least* this temperature, but I guessed closer to 60C. I picked up a wrench to turn the knob on the heater to OFF, and promptly dropped it - every metal surface in the room was hot.

The one fortunate thing about this is that none of the computers in the room were running at the time. This would most definitely have killed them. I tore off my excess layers (I needed a bikini in that room!) and frantically opened doors and windows after shutting the heater off. Luckily the -40C day outside meant the room cooled reasonably quickly - and boy what a rush an instant 100C rise in temperature does for the pulse. I checked over the electronics and computer racks - nothing looked damaged which is very relieving. I got Billy to call up a Utilities tech, and now we have a brand new heater (whoever turned up the heat also tightened the grill so that the fan banged into it hard and made an awful racket). The new (and very quiet) heater keeps the room about 15C which is perfect for both computers and people dressed in lots of clothes.

The heater shall have a sign installed above it saying "DO NOT ALTER TEMPERATURE" and some suitably gruesome threats, when I think of some good ones. On a boring, but useful note the cargo is good to be shipped and webcamera is back in place, and all cables ready to go. The days are getting colder, the average temp has dropped by about five degrees in the ten days I've been here and by the time the last flight leaves in four weeks, the temperatures can get down to -50C, thats -60 or so with windchill. Brrr.

smiles
Jess


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