Sunday, July 13, 2014

On ice! Collecting data! Then, SNAFU, McGivering and change of plan...

A short post about a long day, so I can get some sleep before our early start tomorrow!  

Today we got out on the ice for the first time this trip!  The reason we came!  It was a beautiful day.  We met Daniel, our pilot, in the morning and loaded up the helicopter.  We had a scenic flight to the ice, and when we arrived...
Photo: Adam LeWinter
We had seen large crevasses about 20 km from this area, and so we decided to take a conservative approach- if the helicopter was landing in an unfamiliar location, Daniel would set it down gently, using power to keep weight off the skids.  Tied in with a rope and belayed, I then climbed out carefully, and probed the area around each skid, to be sure we had not landed on a crevasse.  Then, still belayed, I walked around the area, and our to our sampling location, to ensure no surprises there.  Then we'd get to work.  The surface was really safe, but we wanted to be conservative, since we hadn't visited this place before. 

Long story short, we had a good day out, but by the end of it the laser scanner had encountered a "fatal error".  After some discussion with the manufacturer, we think fatal may actually mean fatal, so we decided to change tactics for tomorrow:

We're going to go more old-school; instead of using the scanner, we will be collecting kinematic GPS data.  This means we'll go out and walk, roped, along the transects on which we would have used the laser.  To do this we needed to create a GPS antenna mount for the sleds we found...

And here's what we came up with.  On the science container, we found some old, disused survey tripods that were missing the bottom half of the legs.  Placed over a survival bag and strapped down, it makes a great GPS mount!

We're looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.


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