Devon Island 2013 – IceBreaker 2

Alex here. Due to the lack of stable internet access on the island, I was not able to update this blog while I was on Devon Island in past two weeks. Back in Pasadena now, here is a recap and some pictures of the most exciting two weeks of my life thus far!

The circle in blue below showed where I was from 8/12/13 to 8/21/13, red is where Sean and Justin went for Greenland last month.

Stolen from Justin’s map on “Prepping for Launch – Destination Greenland” post!

Devon Island claims to be the largest uninhabited island on Earth. It is part of the Nunavut Territory of Canada. The island has one of the most Mars-like environment on Earth. Every year, Scientists from all around the world gathers here to conduct various scientific studies. It is currently considered to be one of the best Mars-analog site on Earth. It is also the summer home of NASA’s Haughton-Mars project. This summer was the project’s 17th season.

This year, our drill team consisted of Dr. Brian Glass and Sarah Huffman from NASA AMES, and myself from Honeybee.  Our primary task was to put Honeybee’s IceBreaker 2 drill (IB2) to test in this cold, dry, and harsh environment. In addition, similar to what Justin and Sean had done in Greenland, I have also be deployed our sniffer bits via IB2 and manually with a Hilti Drill at various locations to collect underground gas samples.

Check out http://geology.indiana.edu/pratt/getgamm/index.html for more information on the sniffer bits deployment mission.

9 boxes (8 boxes + 1 Drill String tube) ~ 400 lbs of luggage that we shipped out a week before departure

Day 1: The twin otter plane that flew up from Resolute Bay to Devon Island

Day 1: We were flying no more than 1,000 feet above ground

Day 1: Touch-down! (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 1: Ping Pong posing for the camera
(Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A. Wang)

We arrived Devon Island at 9am on 8/12/13. Upon arrival on the Island, we were greeted by HMP’s director, Dr. Pascal Lee’s and his loyal companion, Ping Pong.

Day 1: HMP Camp station (Photo Haughton-Marrs Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 1: Setting up tent.. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 1: We will be drilling in this tent to avoid freezing in this below 0 degrees Celcius + 30 knots wind chill weather. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

We spent most of the morning on Day 2 to setup the drill and tidy up.

Day 2: Work station inside tent. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 2: IB2. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

 

Day 2: IB2 in action. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 2: “Devon Delight”, the wet, ice-cream-like layer 45cm into Devon Island soil on Drill Hill. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 2: Ice layer 80+ cm into Devon Island soil. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A. Wang)

Day 2: An Inuksuk on the hill next to our camp. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A. Wang)

Day 2: Camp view from top of the hill. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A. Wang)

Day 2: Shatter Cones – You can only find rocks with shatter cones feature beneath meteor impact craters and/or nuclear explosion site. These are rocks that underwent 10 Giga Pascals of shock pressure.

Day 2: Recent vertebrate. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A. Wang)

Day 6: First snow fall. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A. Wang)

Day 6: Drill Hill covered with snow. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 7: More snow. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 8: Sniffer bit deployment #1. Total Sniffer length ~ 2m. Took about 1.5hours to deploy one. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 8: Sniffer bit deployment #2. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 8: Sniffer bit deployment #2. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 8: Whoever can pull this sniffer bit out will be crowned the new King Arthur. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 8: Me, Brian, and Sarah. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 8: The “night” before we took down the tent. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 9: Beautiful day to leave the island. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 9: (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Despite the clear blue sky that we had on the island that day, the weather in Resolute wasn’t as ideal, hence the twin otter plane was not able to come pick us up. So we ended up leaving the island the next day instead.

Day 10: Walking towards the runway. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 10: I’ve never been this excited to see an airplane land in my life. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 10: (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A. Wang)

Day 10: Ping Pong doing what she does best. (Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Day 10: (From left to right) Me, Pascal, Ping Pong, Sarah, Irene, Brian, and John.(Photo Haughton-Mars Project 2013 / A.Wang)

Overall, Devon Island 2013 field campaign was a success. We’ve reached IB2’s drilling goals and pushed the drill to its limits. We’ve collected extremely valuable drilling data that will further lead us into perfecting our drills. The past two weeks had just been too surreal. After two consecutive field campaign, it is now time to give IB2 a rest.

Devon Island 2013…

Alex out.. 08/26/2013

 

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