Early Morning Long Duration Balloon Launch

December 26th, 2007 andrea

ldb phil austin
Yesterday was my last chance to view a Long Duration Balloon launch at Wilie Field. Two launches had already happened while I was at the pole and in the Dry Valleys, so I was especially hoping to see this last one. An attempt at launching the ATIC payload was planned for 8PM last night (see http://www.nsbf.nasa.gov/antarctica/ice0708.htm for more details on all three experiments).

However, due to weather conditions, which need to be perfect, the balloon didn’t launch until 3AM. I stuck it out and the overcast weather and late hour gave me the benefit of being one of only two observers, and lots of access to recording. The entire experience was a blast. There was lots of time to joke around with the launch crew, and talk with the meteorology group (including Anne Dalvera who was sending up pibals – short for ‘pilot balloons’ – every half-hour) and the physicists running the experiments.

The following recordings are all binaural (yup, headphones!) and are only about 2 or 3 minutes max. First is a recording of downtime in the LDB galley. In it you can hear the voice of Kevin Yuill on the radio giving his weather observation report from the tower:
Phil Austin shown here was coordinating the entire production and generously spent time taking me through the process. Here is a recording of Phil right before the launch explaining what will happen:

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Canada Glacier Melt Waterfalls

December 23rd, 2007 andrea

canada glacier
The sound of the Canada glacier streams and waterfalls dominated the soundscape of Lake Hoare. Here is one of several recordings I made while walking along the side of the glacier, listen for the percussive low tones:

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Otherworldly sound of Taylor Glacier

December 23rd, 2007 andrea

stream on taylor glacier
I made this binaural recording while walking on Taylor glacier. It is about ten minutes long. Listen especially to the strange, almost electronic sound that occurs in the last minute. It is coming from moving water under the surface of the glacier. It surprised me so much that I had to bring Hassan over to listen to it too. The picture here is of the very place this sound came from:

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Helo leaves us on Taylor Glacier

December 23rd, 2007 andrea

taylor glacier met station
The four of us: Hassan, Matt, Liz and I, lay on top of our equipment bags to keep them from flying away while the helicopter left us to work on the glacier. My favorite part of this recording is at the end – our expressions of excitement about getting to work. This is a binaural recording, so, as usual, headphones are recommended:
Before we left Taylor, the pilot and helo tech went through a checklist for takeoff. Recorded here through my helmet (keep those headphones on):

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Ice Core Drill on Taylor Glacier

December 23rd, 2007 andrea

matt with drill

I spent my first day in the Dry Valleys on Taylor glacier with Hassan, Liz Bagshaw and Matt Hoffman. They were using an ice core drill to access the interior of cryoconite holes (cylindrical cavities in the ice filled with sediment, water, and air and covered with a clear ice lid) for Liz’s research and to measure the penetration of solar radiation at various depths of ice for Matt’s research. Pictured is Matt and the drill, and this is what it sounded like in action:


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