May 5: Settling In

Rotten Ice team setting up lab

Timelapse of the team setting up our lab at the Barrow Arctic Research Center. Timelapse by Carie

We spent all day today unpacking our three pallets of coolers and boxes and cases, setting up the lab, and getting everything prepared for our first day out on the ice and the experiments after that. Carie was relieved that the fancy and expensive microscope seemed none the worse for the wear after its long trip up here and that the little sensor spots she had last-minute shipped from Germany made it in on time. Monica and Karen spent the day gluing said sensor spots into little glass vials while Shelly and Julianne tag-teamed getting the whole mess sorted into nicely-labeled cabinets and drawers. We’re all moved in and ready to SCIENCE!

Microscope setup

Carie’s project for the day: setting up our fancy (fragile, expensive) microscope in the walk-in freezer. Photos by Carie

Meanwhile we’re also settling in in other ways. We got varying degrees of quality sleep in our quonset hut–which was built in the 1940’s as part of the naval base here in Barrow and has since been retrofitted for our comfort, or so we were told at orientation. The blankets were a little thin in the cold and the black-out blinds didn’t block out nearly enough light for some of our likings, but the worst of it was the obnoxiously loud water pump that WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP WHOMPed every time anyone flushed the toilet or got up for a glass of water. Sleep here may take some getting used to. On the other hand, the cafeteria surprised with good and plentiful food all day (including a Cinco de Mayo taco bar), and at lunch stories were traded about past experiences with dining adventures in Barrow.

Polar bear warning

Watch out for bears! (so far, haven’t seen any). Photo by Carie

Tomorrow our team finally gets out on the ice! Stay tuned…


Rotten Ice Team after successful lab setup

The Team poses in our freshly-set-up lab. Photo by Carie

Binder of Super Fantastic Science

Closeup from the above image: The Binder of Super Fantastic Science contains many our team’s secrets, as well as a whole stack of sample label stickers. Photo by Carie

Follow our project and our blog on our Rotten Ice page