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Norwegian-American Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

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One foot on the brake, and one on the gas

by Tom Neumann — last modified 2008-12-16 19:11

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you back in the USA! We are cooking a turkey on Saturday for the event, and have opted to keep today as a regular work day (well, as regular as any of the days are here...).

Location: Camp Winter, 86.80S, 54.42E
Elevation: 3151m
Weather: -38C, 7 kts

The wind calmed over night and we were greeted this morning by very light winds, clear skies, and cold temperatures.  We are grateful for the light winds, as it makes working outside that much easier, and we continue to hope for warmer spring weather.  It was another busy day around camp today.  In the workshop tent, Kjetil, Rune and Svein made great progress on Sembla, and hope to finish with her tomorrow.  Out in the snowpit, Zoe has been progressing along with help from myself when I can get free.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the day was moving the living module.  The modules have been parked since Camp Winter was established in January.  At that time, we tied the four corners of the module to empty fuel drums, which were then buried about a meter deep in the snow.  These buried drums served as anchor points to keep the module stable in case of very strong winds.
Today, we untied and removed the anchors, put away everything that was loose inside the module, and tried to pull it free using the newly repaired Chinook.  It took a few tries, since the skis on the bottom of the module were frozen to the snow surface, but Chinook proved to be up to the task.

John put Chinook through it's paces, and towed the module around the camp, and then hitched up a sled loaded with fuel drums as well.  This load (about 10 tons) gave us a chance to test the newly repaired drive line, and check the fuel consumption.  Mostly the tests went very well.  We discovered part way through the test that the new hyrdaulic brakes on Chinook were malfunctioning, and were actually on the whole time!  This shouldn't be a big problem to repair, and I expect the fuel consumption will improve even more once we fix the brakes.  Impressive that Chinook could tow 10 tons over a rough snow surface with the brakes on.  Just think what it can do with the brakes off!


Einar and Glen watch as John prepares to tow the living module. Photo: Zoe Courville

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