Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Flight to pick up GPS unit.

On Christmas eve, I had a really good flight to pick up a GPS system that had been put out 2 years ago. It is part of a network of GPS receivers that we have all around the Brunt Iceshelf to monitor how it moves and what stresses and strains there are in the ice itself. The units close to Halley transmit their data back by VHF radio, but this particular unit is too far away for that so had just been recording data for later pickup. This GPS was placed to help understand the way that tides affect the flow of the huge Stancomb Wills glacier, which flows at about 2km a year and is a big influence on the Brunt. Our flight took us from Halley V to Halley VI so that Kirk who is filming the rebuild could get some aerial footage, and then along the hinge zone for about an hour to the GPS unit, then onwards to N9 so that Ben our vehicles guy could see the possibilities for unloading the ship there, we then followed the route from N9 to Halley VI to look for crevasses (one nice big one) and then finally home to Halley V.

Here we are about to set off, Penny waving and myself wearing the warmest hat in the world. BAS has four ski equipped Twin Otters like this.

Here is Penny in the plane with Bear. Bear belongs to the Ian the pilot's wife (she  wintered here at Halley in 2005 along with Bear) and goes on every flight with him - that's one well travelled Bear!

We were prepared to do lots of  digging to retrieve the GPS unit but in fact it had hardly buried at all. Here is Ben by the GPS.

Only the GPS antenna and the solar panel are visible, the GPS and the batteries are buried in the snow. This particular GPS doesn' t have wind power or enough battery power to run right the way through the polar winter but it should get about 9 months of data every year.

Can you see Penny?

On the way home, the light showed up the groomed route from Halley V to Halley VI. The iceshelf seems very big and empty from the air.

All in all a good day.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike

    trust christmas was fun and you get a party on new years eve, its been one long party here Im fed up with feeding people and now Lorri has organised one for new years eve Im just going to go to bed at 10.30

    you look like a convict in your orange suite I will think of suitable cation to go with that photo

    cheers andrew