Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ballast Away! and Internet Outage: January 4-5, 2012

I was just about to start writing here on Friday night, but then the internet stopped working here. It soon emerged that we were in a "continent-wide" internet outage that lasted several hours, from the middle of our shift until we were done with our shift, packed up, and literally about to walk out of the door. Nothing new happened with the payload while we were unable to monitor, so that was a good sign.

Friday, we dropped 270lbs (~120kg) of ballast from the payload. If we'd had a balloon that leaked and progressively lost significant altitude (like the 2001 TIGER flight), this ballast would have been very useful in maintaining our normal altitude. Luckily, our balloon this flight is performing great, so dropping the ballast just gives us a little extra boost, and a little bit more data. Since the Galactic Cosmic Rays we're looking for can interact with the atmosphere before reaching our instrument, it makes sense to have as little atmosphere above us as possible, so a boost in altitude is very welcome.

It's pretty clear when we actually dropped the ballast:

Saturday was another relatively uneventful day. I went out to Hut Point to check for penguins (there were none) and then spent the afternoon in our office working on my presentation for the talk about Super-TIGER I'm giving on Wednesday.

Sean and Thomas are on their way down to the Ice for the second time this season. They're coming back to do the recovery of the instrument, whenever our flight gets terminated. Right now they should be on the plane from L.A. to Sydney, and are scheduled to arrive here in McMurdo sometime next Tuesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment