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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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  Monday, January 2, 2006

Today when we woke up it was sunny and almost warm. The Jamesway in which we live was really warm and all of us were glad to get outside where it was cooler. The weather continued fair, but the winds began to get stronger later in the day.

Several members of the radar team spent the morning tweaking the SAR radar software to try to strengthen the signal from the bed. The radar had been using a frequency of 120-300 MHz, but we were getting a specular signal from the bed that was not to our satisfaction. The team tightened the frequency range to try to strengthen the signal-to-noise ratio. This afternoon they did a 3-hour run looking at a variety of frequency ranges. From this test it appears that a range of 130-170 MHz will give an optimal signal. They will go out again tomorrow to collect data.

Another group calibrated the plane wave radar and did some preliminary alignment. They also went out to take some data, but their data run was cut short by problems in the fuel line of one of the snowmobiles. The generator also cut out and this affected the ability to collect radar data afterwards. They will go out tomorrow morning if the weather permits to complete the plane wave data collection.

The rover was taken out for a short spin so that near-real time video for the Virtual Dashboard could be collected. The robotics team then spent a couple of hours getting the rover packed for shipment back to the United States.

Outreach efforts today included interviewing the Field Camp Manager about his job and his education, taking a walking tour of the camp for the Virtual Dashboard, and making some videos of the ongoing work. Some of the group also worked on calibrating some Vernier probes and carrying out an experiment designed for middle-school students. This experiment should be completed by tomorrow. An e-mail about How and Why A Glacier Moves was sent to 20 teachers who had requested e-mail updates.

The cooks outdid themselves today, cooking blackened catfish on a barbeque grill outside the galley. Who would have ever thought to see a barbeque in the middle of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet? The catfish was really tasty, too. Overall, it was a busy and productive day.

NOTE: This was the entire journal entry, not just page 1.

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