Finally, we had two very boring days. On our third ice station, SeaBED got deployed AND recovered successfully two days in a row, the laser scanning, snow depth and ice thickness measurements were done with no major issues and the aerial scanning of the station was also carried out.

A Twin Otter used a lidar (light radar) to scan a 2km x 2km area aerially.

Since the AUV had completed its mission, Hanu and Chris came out on the ice to give a hand with some of the tasks. Here, they are drilling 2-inch holes through the ice until they reach the sea surface. Each flight (= a giant drill bit) is roughly a meter long, and trying to drill through one of the holes, they used 7 flights!

Hanu and Chris, trying to reach sea level.

My task on the ice is to use the 3D laser scanner at 4 different points of the grid that has been laid out. My equipment weighs quite a lot so I have to pull it with a sled from one point to the other. It also takes about 15 minutes to set up, but once it’s up and running, I don’t have to attend it for a whole hour and I can visit the other people on the ice and see if I can lend them a hand. This is a photo our photo/video chief Pete has taken of me, after while I am setting up the scanner.

Derya setting up the Optech 3D laser scanner

Some examples of the data we have gotten with the scanner is amazing. Here is a “big picture” view of one of the stations I scanned. The scanner is position in the black disk in the middle of the red area (it has a 3-m radius blind zone immediately around it), but it creates a very detailed map (in this map sensitive to 3 cm in the vertical dimension) of the snow surface within a 100 meters in all directions (the scanner can work up to 1.5 km but at this particular location we were only interested in 100 meters around us). I zoomed out a lot in this particular scan so the JCR silhouette can also be seen.
Even though I use many layers of sunscreen and wear one or two balaclavas at any given time, at the end of a 10-11 hour day on the ice, I look like this, and I must say, I am in very good shape when compared to others in terms of sunburn.
We are in transit to Bellingshausen Sea for another day, and then we will start the process all over again with new stations.

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