Although I have arrived at the ice campsite on Monday, and it is Sunday today, the day I am going to describe is for some reason the fifth. Either I have started my journal a bit later, or I have lost a couple of days. It seems that the theory of relativity affects mysteriously our daily life. In any case, Saturdays and Sundays are working days here.
A joy is a feeling one can get after a day or two of hard work, after having realized that the entire string with all the modules has been deployed, and the system is functioning correctly. So far, during this expedition, the installation of one string required more than a day. To pull out the whole string during the day became a usual thing for expedition participants. To install a new one is outstanding.
Peculiarities of cargo transportation of Russian Railways do matter. I would like to explain this in more detail.
Let us have a look at the arrangement of a cluster. There are eight strings in each. Strings are wire ropes. A cluster operates as an independent facility. Until now, we were able to assemble only one cluster during an expedition season. This time, the Baikal project members will deploy two clusters.
Let us turn to a string now. There are thirty-six optical modules on it (see the infographic). These modules are arranged in three sections twelve modules each. It is very useful because the detected signals from the twelve optical modules are accumulated in their own central module, where primary data processing takes place, and afterwards, the information is transmitted further.
This procedure resembles the mechanism of human vision. Light goes through the optical system of the eye and reaches the retina, where specialized photoreceptors – cones and rods - absorb it. Cones and rods are elementary cells; they convert light into signals and transmit them to the brain. Thus, these cones and rods can be seen like an analogue of optical modules.
Afterwards, the signal from cones and rods reaches the visual centre of the brain, where the special trained neural network models the image based on incoming signals. This is how our visual system works.
The neural network in our brain consists of several layers, i.e. includes several stages.
The central module is the first layer in our case. It ranges all the signals from the twelve optical modules (“rods”) due to the time registration and transmits them further. The next layer of neural network on the central string is the most important main module. It accumulates all the data from all the central modules and passes them to the shore station, where our computers and algorithms act as a part of a sophisticated neural network, interpreting the images seen by the Baikal neutrino telescope.
I guess you have a reasonable question: why Russian Railways? For the following reason. The most part of freight, containing aside from other things very important main modules, had to be delivered from Moscow by train. Long ago. A very long time ago. If a passenger train leaves and arrives according to the timetable, the freight train goes unpredictable. And to make it move from one station to another, one should almost literally push it. I have not been aware of this situation until I faced these challenges.
A new facility cannot be assembled without main modules. That is why only the last six optical modules with an anchor and acoustics were assembled, and the string was set aside – “at the stump”. That means, it has been fixed at the log on the “sandbox” – on the wooden frame along the ice hole perimeter. In this way, we could set the winches free (there is a lack of them) and begin assembling a new string.
Today, our long-expected freight containers have come! There are main optical modules, many other things, including my working clothes, inside. Maybe you noticed that my outfit differed from that one of the others. Now you know why.
From now on, we have the opportunity to work harder and faster.
Today, plenty of things have been done. Several strings have been fixed “at the stump”; ice holes have been cleaned. We are assembling the fourth cluster now, using the arrived pieces of equipment.
Today, I have learned how to cut out an ice hole with a chain saw. With a usual one. All my muscle groups have been perfectly trained. How to hit the ice with an iron bar, I have known already, that is why I am not going to describe it now. Although shoulders, hands and chest muscles hurt badly after that. You feel like this if you have been hitting the ice from morning till noon.
I have learned how to make an anchor from the scoop. From the very beginning to the very end. In troubled times, these skills may help me to earn my living.
I have also learned plenty of new words. A bit later, I will compile my own glossary, and it might help once someone in some way.