Sunday, May 6, 2007


Matt and Paul outside yesterday

After 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:

Simon's drill

James demonstrates proper use of the drill

The ice hole

Pressure fractured ice over Lake Cornell

Other stuff-

Bear sign, what we don't want to see on EVA

Pretty main box, BA electron manager

Just to show what we really wear out on a day like yesterday (yes, Mom that is me) - Papa Smurf meets the Michelin Man


sharron said...

Hi There!! Just saw all the great pictures and read your update for today Sunday and Friday. MeMom was in the hospital again for blood on Friday night so I was off the computer for a few days. Glad to know things are looking up for you all and from the looks of things you all have a lot to do. Didn't like the size of the bear track..much to large. Stay Safe. Love U, Mom

Dad said...

JIM, I see that you'll have your computer problems solved. I know that this makes you feel better, so that you have better communications for numerous problems. Keep up the good work and have a good time. Talk to you again soon. Love, Dad (God, I wish that this program had spellcheck. It's been too long since I have had to write letters,etc)

Emily said...

Y'know, only Paul would be outside, in the Arctic, in a kilt. :P Glad you guys are having fun up there and, as always, I wish *I* was there.

You'll be hearing a lot more from me now - I'm finally graduated (!!!) and my primary activities for the last couple of days have been moving in, manhandling 94 lb boxes that I thought were about 30 lb and weren't because it wasn't the box I wanted, and putting the furniture in the boxes together. :)

Claudia said...

Hi James,
Gotta love those Swiss Hilti Drill, *proud little grin* The last time I used one of them was to put holes for outlets into brick walls in Switzerland.
Looks like ya'll have a good time.