Antarctic Astronomy Diaries 2003/04

   

   
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Friday, January 30, 2004

Two days fully orchestrated by work. Jon was working full time on the MASS, an exciting job consisting of making dots on our TFT monitor to track the motion of the star, a technique that I passed on to him after having learnt it from Eric. Our later character has finally crossed the line of sanity. He came in this morning with only half of this face shaved. I guess it would be a great time for him to make passport photos, showing simultaneously two versions of himself. Antarctica is the ideal place if you want to try a new hair cut. If it doesn't suits you there won't be too many people to complain about it. Thank god, Eric promised to shave the other half by the time we get to Hobart.

In the mean time Colin has developed a fixation for cable trays. I gave him a tour of the Concordia station still in construction. As we passed the storage room he noticed some cable trays lying in the ground. Thinking of how great they would look in the AASTINO, we asked the authorization to take to back with us. The next morning he had them installed on the ceiling of the building. Jon and I admitted that it did look very classy; every cable lined up and tied to the tray. It was so strongly attached to the structure of the building that they can even sustain my weight. It's a shame we don't have monkeys to hang them on. Inevitably, Colin asked me to go back to Concordia to negotiate more trays. I came back a few minutes later with a whole bunch of trays with different size and shape. The AASTINO has now cable trays on almost every wall, and if you look at the ceiling of the building it looks like a railway network.

My job has been to get a few of the scripts working and install ICECAM, a camera that will take pictures of the sky during the winter to see if there are any clouds. This instrument is battery powered and is independent from the AASTINO. It's kind of our plan B. If the AASTINO fails during the winter we will at least have its data to show that we are not complete failures. Of course, this is assuming that I can get Icecam to work. When I installed its hard-drive, it complained that the operating system was missing. This problem is unexpected as it was tested in Sydney before arriving at Dome C with Jon and Colin. My guess is that this is a hardware problem ( a dodgy connection) but even smashing the computer against the cable tray didn't help it work. Tomorrow I'll see if dropping it from the 30m tower helps.

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