26 Days ‘Til

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Its January 5th, the first monday back in classes at Dartmouth college and a mere 26 days away from our departure date of our Alaskan adventure. Needless to say the team has far more to do than there are hours in the day to prepare for the trip- so onto priority #1: now that all 10 of the ICE-MITT boxes are up and running it’s time to test them and give the ice noobs a lesson in coring.

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Luckily Professor of Engineering John Collier allowed us to practice on his backyard pond… even though it also happened to be community ice hockey day here. We tried to avoid spaces where the puck would not frequent and the game would not be compromised too much.

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Surprisingly, we saw some old friends there who had come to play hockey , like my old Latin teacher from the Mountain School of Milton Academy, Ben Huber– who recently returned to his old status of a Hanover Local. 

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Once pleasantries were exchanged and we remembered that sadly socializing was not our main priority here it was on to drill practice!  Ross even found that the ice-mitt boxes had another integral purpose: a step stool for drilling! However we got off to a really rough start with the drill; it was hard to start in the ice and it took the weight of two people to get it all going– or at least my weight was not enough in the battle against the drill, many people feared for my short person well being and braced my inevitable fall.

After all of that it took around five minutes to drill an ice core, but when we got it it was a beaut!

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After a few more difficult runs like that by Ross, Natalie and myself, we took a look at what might be the problem with our corer– turns out that we left the break screws on the bottom that protect the teeth. Oops– better to make these mistakes now I guess! And after this discovery things went much faster with the corer drilling through the ice in under 30 seconds!

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 Natalie and I didn’t even need the extra weight to drill.  Finally we got enough ice to fill up one meter long inlet of the ice-mitt box– our goal for this practice session. Meanwhile the sun had gone down, the temperature had dropped ten degrees and I could no longer feel any signals coming from my extremities.  

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A pretty successful test trial in all for the ice-mitt project! The corer works, the ice-mitts refrigerated and no one fell in! A few things to look out for in the future is freezing the ice in the corer when it gets wet, or freezing the ice breaks so we lose the core to the ocean!

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