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November 7, 2000
November 7, 2000 --  ATIC has arrived on-site at Williams Field on the Ross ice shelf just outside of McMurdo, Antarctica.  The initial crew consisted of Mark Wefel and Doug Smith who assisted with site preparation (i.e. digging the buildings out of 15 foot high snow banks) as well as with locating the ATIC equipment, unpacking the crates and organizing the work space.  

On October 30, Greg Guzik, Joachim Isbert, Doug Granger, and Leslie Mock arrived and were welcomed by being promptly enrolled in Snow Survival School.  This two day course provided training in basic skills needed for survival situations such as stove / tent handling and snow structure construction for wind protection.  The highlight of the school was overnight camping on the ice in sub-zero degree Fahrenheit weather.

Essentially all of the ATIC equipment has survived shipping and at this point we are well on our way to getting the experiment operational.  Our local computer network is functional.  We have tested all the BGO calorimeter channels and have found only a few problems that were easy to repair.  The target portion of the experiment is on the lab stand and we are assembling the electronics bays.  Work is progressing on the pressure vessel and we should have our first leak test within a few days.  Brad Price arrived 11/4 and has setup the DTCU detector testing systems as well as started with assembly of the flight computer stacks.

For the last two days we have been weathering a storm here at the base and we were at Condition One for most of yesterday.  The three conditions used to describe weather in Antarctica are as follows:

  • Condition ONE is when any one of the following are true: Visibility is less than 100 feet Wind is greater the 55 knots The windchill is greater than - 100 F
  • Condition TWO is when any one of the following are true: Wind speed is between 48 - 55 knots Visibility is less than 1/4 mile but greater than 100 feet The windchill is greater than - 75 degrees F but less than - 100 degrees F
  • Condition THREE is anything better than condition II

Only during Condition Three are we allowed to move about freely.  Under Condition One we are required to stay in one place and keep mostly indoors. Thus, we have been camping out with the experiment these last couple of days.  The storm has finally broke and we expect to get back to Mac Town later today.

Check out ATIC Pictures for some of our latest images.


Mount Erebus as seen from Williams Field



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