16 June 2008

The Main Dome gets a skin

Mounting panels

Mounting of the outer panels requires some climbing skills.

This morning we said goodbye to the GRIT traverse crew. They are now heading for Summit camp some 650 km away. They were pleasant company for two days. After they left, we went to work.

First a crew removed the snow drifts from the drill trench to open it. Then most of camp personnel participated in mounting outer panels of the main dome. Although it continued to snow most of the day with poor visibility, the wind was gentle and we got 23 panels mounted. It was a real group effort. Two people hauled panels in the right sequence to the construction site. Then they mounted holders on the panels, and the crane operator lifted them into position. Two climbers on the outside and one inside pushed the panels in position and held them, while two with power tools fixed them with screws. All was overseen by Blair (the dome guy), who handed tools and parts when needed. All this time the snow blower was in action in the drill trench.

What we have done today:

  1. Floor in drill trench almost leveled at 6.1 m.
  2. Mounting 23 panels on main dome.
  3. Said goodbye to the GRIT traverse team.

Ad.1: After 2 hours of removing snow drifts, the trench was open again, and the final stages of snow blowing are in progress.

Ad.2: Nine people were participating in a very organized operation of mounting the outer panels on the main dome. If weather permits, the dome will soon have an outer wall. 23 of about 130 panels were mounted today.

Ad.3: The GRIT traverse team left us today heading for Summit camp. They left a present: 13,000 liters of fuel. We can use some, but we have promised the traverse people to keep at least 4,000 liters for their return trip. The GRIT traverse is a National Science Foundation (NSF) project, and as NEEMs second largest sponsor NSF has made this contribution to NEEM.

Weather: Overcast, - 11 C, 10 knots from SW. Visibility: ½ mile, snow most of the day.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

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