Matt and Paul outside yesterdayAfter the cold and wind yesterday it warmed up a bit today to -16 or so and the wind dropped back to a stately 7 knots. That meant we got to go outside to test some of the drilling equipment. Matt, Simon, and I went about 1.2 kilometers from the Hab to a place our science advisory geologist (the great and powerful Oz, Gordon Osinski, NSERC Visiting Fellow at the Canadian Space Agency) identified as the closest surface permafrost. I was included, rather than another scientist, because of my construction background. Coincidently I am the only crewmember who has used a Hilti roto-hammer before this mission, therefore I had to train both Matt, one of our other two engineers and the crew XO; and Simon, the lead crew geologist on the permafrost experiments, on the drill before we can begin the simulation. We were out for about two hours, and drilled permafrost and ice with both the core and full-face bits. For any of my construction friends reading this, drilling permafrost feels just like drilling barely set concrete, and well, drilling ice is like drilling butter.
This precluded me from working on the storage array and well doing anything else engineering or computer wise, but it was worth it. Jason, our last Inuit guide before we were left on our on, kept trying to get me to go outside more with him to relax and now I know why. This place is beautiful once you get used to the cold. I was too busy then, but I'm glad my crew role allows it now and for the rest of the mission.
So here are some photos from today first, and later the promised photo from Steve of the tracks from the bear he and the other James chased away from our vicinity, and some other stuff: