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Arctic Diary – Week Three

April 13 – April 19, 2002

We have made a lot of progress with our experiments so far. The first test involved studying sensors called icepick geobuoys, which are usually dropped onto the ice from an Aurora aircraft, and send back information about underwater sounds. For our controlled tests, we dropped a dozen of these dart-shaped sensors from a helium-filled kytoon, a cross between a kite and a balloon, raised up to 200 metres.
After the icepicks were dropped, we set up a heated science tent nearby and wired the icepicks to our computers inside.
This small octagon tent is our "office" on the ice. Outside, we drop sound sources into the water through holes drilled in the ice. Inside, our laptop computers record the vibrations picked up by the icepicks on the ice surface.
We also started many underwater tests. In order to place sound sources and hydrophones (underwater microphones) under the ice, we have cut out a 5'x8' (1.5 m x 2.5 m) hole and put up a heated tent over it so that it would not freeze over.

To place things in exact positions, we use a remote operated vehicle called Phantom.
This mini submarine is controlled using 2 joysticks for diving, surfacing and steering, along with a zoom video camera allowing the operator to see underneath the ice.

Phantom has a manipulator arm, like a miniature Canadarm, which is used to retrieve small objects and cut tangled ropes.

Week Two / Arctic Diary / Week Four