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November 2, 2002

A panoramic view of Akaroa Bay just south of Christchurch, New Zealand


November 2, 2002 -- The initial ATIC crew from LSU arrived safely at McMurdo, Antarctica during the afternoon of October 28, 2002.   This crew included Greg Guzik, Joachim Isbert, Mike Stewart, Doug Granger, Randy Gould and Doug Smith.  The trip to Antarctica began at Baton Rouge on October 22, 2002 and, for those of us who were routed through Sydney, Australia, the initial leg to Christchurch, New Zealand involved more than 30 hours of continuous travel.  Since we crossed the International Date Line while crossing the Pacific we skipped October 23 and arrived in Christchurch on October 24.

While waiting for our flight to McMurdo, the crew had an opportunity to tour a bit through New Zealand.  One of our trips took us west through the New Zealand Alps, over Arthur's Pass and to the city of Greymouth located on the west coast of New Zealand that borders the Tasman Sea.  On a second trip we went south to the harbor town of Akaroa (see image above).  Finally on our last day in town we visited the Willowbrook Animal Reserve where a number of New Zealand animals including the Kea and Kiwi could be seen.

On Monday, October 28, 2002 at 6 am we arrived at the CDC (Clothing Distribution Center) to put on our cold weather gear and by 8 am we had boarded the C-141 military transport aircraft that would take us to Antarctica.  The plane took off a bit before 9 am and 5 1/2 hours later we arrived on the sea ice runway outside of McMurdo.

The following day was our first trip to Willy Field where we looked over the Weatherport (located next to the P.I.G. barn) that will be the ATIC base of operations for the next three months.  Over the next several days we unpacked the crates containing our computers, tools, heavy equipment, test electronics, the instrument detector stack and organized our operations in the building.  For now, as we do our initial instrument checks, the Weatherport accommodations are adequate, but when we start working on individual detectors we expect the space to become very tight.  

For now things are going well with the instrument.  As of today all flight computers have been checked out, all detectors have been powered up and we are beginning to take muon calibration data.  Once we have analyzed these data tomorrow we will be able to identify problem areas with the detectors and systematically fix them.

The LSU ATIC Campaign Flag is hung in the Weatherport 

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