Marianne Okal of UNAVCO

December 2nd, 2007 andrea

Marianne Okal of UNAVCO

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet Marianne Okal, who through her work at UNAVCO, builds gps systems to support field science work. UNAVCO maintains GPS stations in fixed locations around McMurdo that serve to calibrate roving GPS systems at field sites. Because GPS information from satellites can be subject to weather and electrical conditions, UNAVCO’s fixed base systems help to provide more accurate information by constantly comparing GPS readings at the fixed bases to their known locations, and then error correcting for all GPS systems in the area.

Marianne showed me some GPS systems she had been building for the field, and some visualizations of GPS data from a survey on a glacier shown here.

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Science at the Crary Lab

December 2nd, 2007 andrea

shell inside the snail

Yesterday Crary Lab supervisor Cara Sucher gave me and another McMurdo newbie a tour of the Crary Lab. What is unique and exciting about Crary is that scientists of very different disciplines work side by side in one building, and sometimes even share the same lab. My studio is also located in Crary, and it is great to be in such close quarters to the scientists.

Crary is divided into 3 ‘stages’. The first stage contains several biology labs including temperature controlled labs that look like large meat lockers. In these labs, specimens from the field are analyzed, and because transportation of specimens can be so difficult, a large amount of lab work is done in these labs.

The second stage contains geology labs, and is currently filled with scientists from the Andrill project, the deepest earth core drilling and paleoclimate analysis that has ever been done.

The third stage contains tanks for living specimens: fish, snails and other animals. Pictured here is a snail that has its shell inside. It looks like a yellow plastic toy, but when you hold it you can feel it moving, pretty amazing.  Click the image for more pictures of the lab.

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