Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 28, 4/22/09 -- Booms, bugs, and bolometers

The weather here in NM is finally becoming what I expected New Mexico weather to be like: hot! Today it got up to nearly 90 degrees, and it was glorious. Of course, with the heat come bugs. We've seen a marked increase in the numbers of flies, moths, and other various kinds of bugs around the high bay. Strangely, all of the bugs here are VERY slow. I was actually able to just step on a fly a couple of days ago.

We got some new additions to the team today, and one subtraction. Fran├žois drove Kevin to Albuquerque so he could fly back to Montreal, spent the day there, and then drove back with Ilan and Will, who both arrived last night. Once back in the high bay, they jumped right in to work. Will quickly fixed a configuration issue we were having with the serial ports on the flight computer. Dan spent the day taking data with the Ebert-Fastie monochromator he built, getting information on the receiver's spectral response. I spent a good part of the day working on the baffling mechanical design.

The big news here today was the arrival of our rented articulated boom lift. Let me tell you: This thing is FUN. We need it to do some calibration/systematics tests as well as eventually to deal with the gondola once all of its structure is in place. Speaking of structure, Jeff and I have spent a lot of time over the past few days dealing with what I can only assume are manufacturing or design errors in some of the parts for the gondola structure. Making what should be a simple task (bolting a couple of things together) difficult by having to fix others' mistakes is a great way to make a good day turn into an annoying and frustrating one.

Last, Dan had Ilan pick up a new rim for the sad basketball hoop just outside our high bay door. The new one is straight and round and actually has a net! We played a good amount of basketball today, and Britt even got in on the action for a little 3-on-3. Now we have two hoops to choose from. Maybe eventually we'll wheel our hoop over to where the new hoop is and set up a full court!


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