Well, the sign was new last year, but here's the new location as of November. Installing it are Boyd Brown (left) and Martin Lewis; the photographer is Andy Martinez. Boyd provided the photo.
As for what's going on this year--well, with the smallest summer crowd in over a decade, not nearly as much as a few years ago when IceCube drilling was in full swing, the new station was still being built. And for some reason the tourist crowd is down considerably from last year.
Some of the more significant bits of construction and maintenance include:
|The project of jacking to level the garage/heavy shop/VMF or whatever is, well, not very photogenic. So instead here's a look of some of the hydraulic units used for this operation, seen staged here (left) in the UT shop, which is of course in said building (JD).|
|Above left, the last of three main engine generators in the power plant is being replaced (at right, some of the removed pieces and parts). This is the end of a 3-year project; in 2010-11 a new alternator was purchased and shipped in to be installed on #1 engine; the removed alternator was shipped back to the vendor for an overhaul. The second swap was made last summer; this is the last phase of the job...looks like #2. Yes, some folks may think the power plant is still brand new...but it has been online since 2000, and these units are best serviced by the manufacturer. In the late 1980's, the alternators on the original dome power plant generators were replaced after about 12 years of service (JD).|
Above...two photos (JC) of a new science experiment which was being assembled in the erstwhile cryo lab in January 2013. What you see here is a rotating co-magnetometer--an instrument to measure nuclear spin-precession. The project title is "Test of Lorentz Invariance at the South Pole." The measurement is an effort to unify aspects of the quantum field theory and the theory of general (vs special) relativity. As I'm not a physicist I'll defer to the following two abstracts for a description of what they're doing: a June 2012 APS meeting poster abstract , and the July 2012 NSF government funding award abstract for this project. But the reason this experiment is being set up at Pole is to minimize the interference of the earth's rotation--at Pole, the earth rotation vector is parallel to the gravity vector.
The team putting it together includes physics professor Michael Romalis and postdoc Marc Smiciklas from Princeton. Below is Marc's YouTube video of the apparatus in operation in the lab at Princeton in March 2012. The team previously visited Pole for a site survey in 2006-07.
Credits...Jeffrey Donenfeld (JD), Joe Crane (JC)...