Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 35, November 28, 2012 -- Let's Dance

Today was a busy day -- about half of the team (including me) came in during the wee hours (2AM or 4AM, depending on who) to get the gondola ready for its trip to the so-called "dance floor", a wooden deck set away from the buildings, for sensor calibration tests. After a few hiccups, we managed to get out to the dance floor by about 6AM, at which point Joy and Chappy started with the various tests they needed to do in order to calibrate the various pointing sensors: the star cameras, the magnetometers, the dGPS system, and the sun sensor. We had to bring the gondola back to the high bay around 10AM as the wind started picking up, though we left it outside hanging from the crane for about another hour before we decided the wind was getting too strong and we brought it in.

After lunch, the early crew went back to McMurdo. I took a nap, then after dinner a few of us went on a tour of the pressure ridges, seasonal features in the sea ice created by ice and water movement near Ross Island. It was pretty awesome, walking through these huge waves of ice, seeing the big cracks that permeated the surface, and getting a nice up-close look at some seals that use the cracks in the pressure ridges as a means to get into the water.


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