[12/4(Mo) helping Nacchan]
AM Woke up ealry and went to the lab. Brought up cylinders of helium and nitrogen gases -- heavy!
5PM With the mysterious problem we're having with our telescope, I had completely forgotten about my bathroom cleaning duty, so I rushed back to the station.
11:30PM After helping Nacchan w/ her fellowship application, went to bed.
Woke up early and researched human trafficking problems in Asia.
Missed lunch again. We saw strange disturbances in our detector signals the last time, and now we're seeing strange oscillations... :( We will not be able to do our sensitive observations like this.
While thinking of possible causes of the problem, worked on the telescope's "boot" insulation.
5:30PM Heard from Nacchan that she successfully mailed her application on time :)
Midnight: We tried re-cycling the refrigerator and went to bed.
[12/6(We) Gas leak analyzer!]
5:30AM Woke up and saw something strange with the refrigerator cycling.
This time, the refrigerator in the telescope failed to get all the way cold! We were worried that the refrigerator might be leaking -- that would be a disaster since this unique fridge that uses Helium-3 was made specifically for our telescope, and repairing it would be very difficult.
8AM At our weekly teleconference we reported the problems to the team back in California. Cynthia and Steffen were on the teleconference from Christchurch, on their way here.
PM After lunch, Jamie got a hold of mass spectrometer gas analyzer from the science department to see if our Helium-3 fridge is leaking. This is a very neat device that tells us what molecules are coming out of our telescope. On the photo, you can see hydrogen (masss 2), helium-4 (mass 4), water (mass 18), nitrogen (mass 28), oxygen (mass 32), and CO2 (mass 44). We were relieved to see that there was nothing at the mass of 3 -- no Helium-3 leak! But there seems to be lots of helium-4 in what's supposed to be a vacuum space inside the telescope...
To check if helium-4 might be leaking from our refrigerator or from our liquid helium tank, we kept the gas analyzer on and cycled the fridge again.
7:30PM Had a Trauma Team meeting about mass casualty incidents.
9:30PM The telescope fridge seems good so far. Went to bed hoping for the best.
[12/7(Th) Still problem]
Unfortunately, we see oscillations again and evidence of lots of helium in the telescope. But a good news is that the fridge doesn't seem to be leaking :)
Skipped lunch and tried many tests to see what the problems are.
8PM Finally back for dinner and went to bed at 10:30PM.
Cynthia and Steffen arrives!]
When I went to breakfast, Kiwon and Evan were in the galley trying to get a clue about the telescope's problems, so I joined them. They had stayed up all night, so they soon went to bed.
I went to the lab and looked at the overnight gas analyzer data -- when Jamie arrived, he looked disappointed that he was not the first to look at it -- he seems to really like this toy :)
11AM Our fellow graduate student Cynthia and this year's winterover Steffen (a German guy, new to our team) was arriving today, so I went to welcome them. I was the only one as Kiwon and Evan were still asleep. Cynthia seemed happy and excited to be back at the South Pole -- she really likes this place :) I met Steffen for the first time -- he seeme very different from what I had imagined. I was somehow imagining a somewhat serious kind of a guy, but Steffen seemed very easy-going :)
2PM They came to the lab, Cynthia with a box full of games and other telescope-related things. Last year, the game company found out that she was playing their games at the South Pole, and sent her a bunch more games to play here :)
We kept pumping out the residual helium gas from the telescope while monitoring helium leak rate.
Today was Nacchan's graduation day from the Berkeley Citizens Police Academy. Too bad I can't make it.
[12/9(Sa) Huge air leak!]
6:30 Got to the lab and saw that the helium leak rate was flattening out.