Questions from The Epiphany School

FeLume ($30,000)

Hey King! Sorry we haven’t had time to post any questions. With all the snow we’re getting we haven’t had a full week of school since being back. Anyway, there are a couple of things the kids wanted to know.

We have been watching the news about the snow back home.   We had a few snow flakes today, pretty cold for the summer.   We can’t imagine how cold it must be at 60 South in the Winter.   The water temperature goes from about 2 oC at the surface to -1.5 oC at 100 meters depth.   The temperature of the water is below 0.0 degrees C!  How is that possible??

For Annie, they wanted to know if it was her first time on a trip like this and if it is/was what she expected? What is it like traveling so far from home?

Nutrient Analyzer ($50,000)

This is my first time on a research cruise like this.  Before this trip, the longest I had been at sea was on a sailboat for 10 days that sailed from Massachusetts to Maine.  The trip has been what I expected, and more!  It has been really interesting to see all the work that goes into scientific research, and to get to take part in collecting data.  It’s exciting to be traveling to places I have never been before and to be doing new things, and because we have internet on the ship and I’ve kept in touch with family and friends, home doesn’t feel so far away!

They also really liked the videos (do you have any more?) and wanted to know about why you waste so much water when your getting ready to test it? How long the process takes to collect water and maybe explain a little more about the sampling?

CO2 and Alkalinity Analyzer ($50,000)

Please check out our recent Whale Video.   Your class is very observant that a lot of water goes onto the deck.  We need to rinse the bottles well so that they only contain water from the Niskin bottle.   This is particularly important for samples for dissolved oxygen since air is 20% oxygen.  A single air bubble will really mess up the dissolved oxygen measurements.

In the CTD video you see Melissa filling a bottle with a long rubber tube.   The water from the Niskin bottle fills her sample bottle from the bottom pushing the air out of the bottle as it fills.  She then overfills the bottle to remove every last bubble.

Guitar for recreation (priceless)

They are also wondering more about costs of equipment etc.?

The ship is the most expensive part of the trip.  Ships cost many millions of dollars to build and charge $36,000 a day operate.   The ship cost for this trip will be over $1 million.

Many of the instruments we are using cost between $30K and $100K.  We pack the instruments in special boxes to transport them to the ship.   We are already working on the details for shipping our instruments home from South Africa.  The pictures in this post show some of the instruments on the ship.

Finally, they wanted to know if anyone had made any drastic mistakes yet?

No big mistakes yet.   We had some big swings with the CTD during a particularly rough night.   The tension on the CTD cable went from zero to 6000 pounds in about a second.   Big changes in cable tension can snap the cable.   We were lucky and the cable is fine.

One scientist banged his head on the steel stairs during some rough weather and bled a fair amount.   He spent a little while in the ships hospital until the bleeding stopped.   No stitches were needed, although the Captain and First Mate are supposed to be pretty good at stitching.  We are at least 10 days from a real hospital so the ships crew has to be trained in emergency medicine.

Cups for the deep.

Tomorrow we will be over the second deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean (use Google maps to find:  55.8 S, 26.1 W).   We will send the cups from the Epiphany School to a depth of 5500 meters.  We have placed the cups in a mesh bag that we will attach to the CTD for the trip to the bottom.  Try to estimate the pressure at 55o0 meters depth.

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