Department of Physics

Expedition 4 prepares to depart for Antarctica

The fourth Antarctic expedition from the Otago Space Physics group is preparing for their trip South. Dr James Brundell, the event leader, is currently working alongside Mr Peter McCabe, Physics Department Head Technician, to test the experimental equipment they will use on the ice. The team is scheduled to travel to Scott Base on Wednesday 23 November 2011 for a ten-day intensive working period. The logistics support, comprising air transport, accommodation, and all other on-ice support is provided through Antarctica New Zealand Event K060.

Dr James Brundell and Mr Peter McCabe, standing in front of the University of Otago's clocktower building. James and Peter are holding a collapsible VLF loop antenna they will use to undertake noise measurements [14 November 2011; Photo Credit: Bonar Carson].

James and Peter are heading to Scott Base to work on Otago's AARDDVARK radio receiver which is located at Arrival Heights, not far from Scott Base. James was one of the two man Space Physics team who deployed this radio receiver in December 2008. In the last few months the receiver has developed some small problems - data is still being collected, but its clear that repairs and maintenance are in order. An important job they will undertake is replacing the cable which stretches from the Kiwi lab at Arrival Heights over to our antenna about ~130m away. In addition, Peter and James will undertake measurements of the VLF noise in and around the Arrival Heights area. The picture above shows the collapsible VLF loop antenna they will use to undertake noise measurements around theĀ Arrival Heights site, and beyond.

Assuming all goes to plan, Peter and James leave Dunedin on Tuesday 22 November 2011, flying to Christchurch to be issued their Antarctic clothing by Antarctica New Zealand and have initial briefings. The next day they should fly on a US Air Force C17 Globemaster II down to the Ross Sea. After completing saftey briefings, some level of Antarctic Field Training and getting their Antarctic driving license, the two man team should be ready to get to work a day or two later.