12 November, 2001
Nov 12th- The Solar Panels are Finished!
Temperatures today: High 30 F, Low 14 F, with Wind Chill -26 F!
We finished the solar panels today! It is a good feeling. Rigobert was also a part of our mini-team. We completed 47 panels! There are lots of other things to do next. Some of the tasks at hand include putting together the towers for the wind generators. These towers are made of aluminum poles that are screwed together. When we install these in the field, we will use heavy wires known as guy wires to anchor the tower to the ground. Antarctica is the windiest continent on Earth, so we have to be sure everything is secured really well. Another job that we will begin is putting together the structures that hold the solar panels. This type of structure is called an A-frame. When complete it looks like the letter "A". It is made with a series of poles that are screwed together. Once these structures are built, we will attach two solar panels to each one.
We are scheduled to begin flights this week. Jesse made up a rotating schedule for when people will go into the field. Because we have such a large team, we can't all go at once to a parcticular site. This is actually a good thing because there is so much work to do at the Jamesway. I'll know more about the plan soon.
Two of our principal investigators (the guys who are responsible for the whole project) arrived today. They are Sridhar and Doug. Sridhar is the one who allowed me to join this project. Thank you Sridhar! I feel so lucky to be a part of this.
The answer to the questions from Nov 9th:
Why do you think we need both the solar panel and wind generator? Why isn't the solar panel enough?
The solar panel works well during the Antarctic summer because we have 24 hours of daylight. However, during the Antarctica winter there is 24 hours of darkness. So the solar panel won't work. That is where the wind generator takes over. This instrument needs wind to work, and there is plenty of that during the Antarctic winter! Pretty cool!
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