Friday, September 18, 2015

Instrument Surgury

The scientific results from field campaigns are well reported in academic journals, often with text such as "measurements were taken during ...". However, the effort required to produce these results, including all the problems that had to be overcome, are rarely documented in full.
2odiac 2015 has not been a simple case of transporting instruments to Antarctica and deploying them. One instrument (the UHSAS) was completely destroyed during shipping; very disappointing, particularly for team member Anondo.

Our primary instrument, the Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS), then suffered a power unit failure, but the ingenuity of McMurdo came to the the fore. Inquiries across the base resulted in the offer of two old power transformers. Using some master engineering skills, Team 2odiac rigged a solution and measurements could continue.

Mike, Doug and Lars assess the power module situation and contemplate a solution. Lars is wearing an anti-static bracelet.

With measurements running, it is important to monitor incoming results to ensure that good data is being collected.

Mike checking the status of the AMS
Some anomalies in results suggested that there might be a problem with one of the pumps on the AMS, so further investigation is required.

All hands on deck. Doug (hiding behind the AMS), Mike and Lars dealing with removing the troublesome vacuum pump

The pump was removed and the pump-to-AMS seal serviced.

The troublesome pump gets a servicing. Mike is wearing a hat and gloves to ensure minimal contamination. This is a delicate instrument - the fan/turbo in this pump spins at an incredible 70,000 revolutions per minute.

Lars and Mike reinstall the pump.

Doug bends over backwards during pump installation

More hands in the delicate environment of the AMS. The NOx, CO2, Ozone analyzer and the computer server are on the right edge of the picture.

Even when things stray from the original plan it's good to have a sense of humor. Mike and Doug share a joke as everyone discusses the situation. I have enjoyed working with Anondo, Doug, Lars and Mike.


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