Chronicles of the 2023 Baikal Expedition. Week 1
February 17. Day 1
Today, the Baikal expedition to construct the neutrino telescope has been launched. The first group of scientists and specialists under the guidance of Igor Belolaptikov have arrived at the 106th km of the Circum-Baikal Railway. May the ice be strong and the weather fine!
Photos by Bair Shaybonov
February 18. Day 2
Winches, stocks, sledges with empty boxes for optical modules were transported to the “near” ice to be further delivered to the ice camp.
A panoramic view of the location where the ice camp will be arranged.
February 19. Day 3
It was a busy day. Today, we were chiefly cutting “mainas”, ice-holes, at the locations of orange cones, dubbed “poles” here. The position of every orange cone is marked beforehand using the ultraprecision GPS receiver. Then the snow is cleaned away, and the future maina is contoured. Ice cubes are cut with the saw on the sledge, then pulled out with large pincers onto the ice and dragged away.
There is already an orange kung, a metal-body van, and a diesel generator on the ice. Soon, winches, other kungs, large generators will be brought onto the ice… And the science town will reappear here, on the ice, with its own infrastructure, its own laws, traditions and even traffic rules…
February 20. Day 4
The preparation of the ice camp to install new elements and upgrade those of the previously installed clusters is going on. Divers hook the top buoys of the optical module strings at a depth of about 25 metres for their further recovery and upgrade. In the maina next to ice ridges, ice thickness was about 120 cm! How handy came in a special handsaw with a long handle! To cut such a maina without it would be a tough job.
February 21. Day 5
Today, we broke up into two groups for activities in different locations of the ice camp. In the photo, in the foreground, our group is disassembling strings, and in the background, many hundreds of metres away, the other group is working. It is deploying the dimensioning and cutting-to-length production line for the new clusters.
February 22. Day 6
Today, we have disassembled several strings of the previously installed clusters. Also, we conducted field testing of a new diesel generator. We completed position marking for the future 11th and 12th clusters, and also for the 13th experimental cluster. Cables and buoys for the new clusters are being delivered. Telephone and Wi-Fi networks are available now on the ice camp.
February 23. Day 7
The previously installed clusters are being further upgraded. All the components of the strings to be upgraded are tested directly before the installation.
Meanwhile, components were delivered from Baikalsk to the positions of new clusters — 90-metre-long cables and buoys. Next to come are optical modules.
The deployment of the dimensioning and cutting-to-length production line is going on. It will provide new strings with carrier cables.
February 24. Day 8
Optical modules are delivered in mass to the locations of the new clusters. There were two caravans of trucks with four vehicles in each. A total of 280 boxes with optical modules were delivered today. The elements of the previously installed clusters are being further upgraded.