Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Working, copying, greeting

The last hole of the season is being drilled today, so the final string should be deployed by tomorrow morning. 20 strings were added this season, for a total of 79 strings in the detector. There will only be 7 new strings next season, so the IceCube detector will likely be complete before the end of the year.

Today I started work at drill camp, copying all the drilling and deployment data to a portable disk drive which I'll carry back to Madison and save to an archive. It'll be used to diagnose problems and possibly aid in analysis of future scientific data.

At around 3AM, I headed over to the IceCube Lab building to take down parts of the detector in order for one of the I.T. people to upgrade the network cards on all our machines. Fortunately, the ICL is only 500 yards from drill camp ... in past years it's been far away.

The data acquisition software (a.k.a the DAQ) runs on over 70 machines -- and growing, because each string requires a separate server. We'll need over 100 machines when the detector is complete.

I don't have much else to report, because I practically slept the day away yesterday! I was going to try and stay up until noon, but I hit a wall at 10:30 and managed to stay asleep (aside from a couple of half-hour stretches of lying awake) until 6PM. As I've written before, everyone has sleep problems here, primarily because of the low-oxygen environment. Getting 7+ hours of sleep was a pleasant surprise!

I wanted to stay up until noon yesterday because I'm going to need to be awake at noon today to greet a passenger on an incoming plane. The passenger is a postdoc who will be checking out all the new strings and making sure they're ready to
be included in the data acquisition runs, and I'll be standing by to help with any DAQ-related problems.

Tomorrow should be my last day at drill camp. It'll also begin my last week at the South Pole.

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