Feeds

Enormous 1km ice-cube machine fashioned at South Pole

Boffins in magnificent Futurama style feat

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Meet the rocket ski-plane and the ice drill as powerful as a locomotive

A US C-130 Hercules equipped with skis takes off in the Antarctic using JATO. Credit: DoD

Rocket ski-plane - a bit easier than dog sleds

Once at the Pole, the boffins needed to drill holes more than 2km down into the ice. This was done with a tool specially invented for the job: the Enhanced Hot Water Drill, developed in the physical-sciences labs of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The mighty ice drill, rated at no less than 4.8 megawatts (this is a drill as powerful as a railway locomotive) can bore through a kilometre of ice every day, so allowing the long sensor cables to be lowered into position.

As of December 18th, according to the NSF, the mighty Ice Cube was finally complete.

"IceCube is not only a magnificent observatory for fundamental astrophysical research, it is the kind of ambitious science that can only be attempted through the cooperation - the science diplomacy, if you will - of many nations working together in the finest traditions of Antarctic science toward a single goal," said Karl A Erb, director of NSF's Office of Polar Programs.

Sensor descends down a hole in the ice as part of the final season of IceCube. Credit: NSF/B Gudbjartsson

Down into the vast, transparent darkness

The Ice Cube was funded by the US, Belgium, Germany and Sweden. Barbados, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK will also join in the IceCube Collaboration which will analyse the resulting data.

More accurately, one should say, they are analysing it and have been for some time: the Ice Cube actually went into operation well before being finished. The first data were produced in 2005.

"With the completion of IceCube, we are on our way to reaching a level of sensitivity that may allow us to see neutrinos from sources beyond the sun," says Francis Halzen, top boffin on the project.

There's more on the mighty Ice Cube here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.