Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Electric Snowmobile

On Monday's flight the electric snowmobile finally arrived at Summit after much anticipation. Tracy Dahl has been driving it all around town putting it through it's paces. He even hauled a bunch of empty cylinders from Sat Camp back to the cargo berm, saving us a good bit of work at the end of the experiment.

The neat thing about the snowmobile was that NSF sponsored a competition for University students to build electric and low emission snowmobile. This year McGill University won the electric competition and this is the vehicle pictured above.

I like the fact that the electric plug to recharge the batteries is where the gas cap used to be. Since the Sat Camp is officially an emissions free zone, the only way we were able to haul equipment out here is by pulling it ourselves. Now with the electric snowmobile we can haul our equipment back to camp without polluting the air and snow we are trying to study. Future plans for Summit Camp include more wind mills, solar panels, and electric vehicles. It is neat to think that the electric vehicles will be charged by solar and wind energy.

Speaking of contaminating our air and snow. Unfortunately, when the C-130 arrived today, the winds had just switched around to the North, so the whole time the plane was here it was contaminating our measurements.

This C-130 took away number of our good friends. On the left is Luke Ziemba smiling because he is on his way home. His replacement Pieter Beckman on the right is not nearly as happy. We call them the New Hampshire brothers because of their similar attire.

Unfortunately, it took the Herc three attempts to take off, causing even more pollution. Adding insult to injury, on the 2nd take off attempt the C-130 fired it's Assisted Take Off (ATO) rockets, producing the pollution cloud above. The cloud drifted right over the Sat Camp. In addition to the usual suspects (NO and CO) the ATO included elevated levels of Chlorine and potentially contaminated the snow around our measurement site.

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