2001 Reports) (December
there is hope...
Alex's last report from February 1. 2001, he mentioned
that it lookd as though the top package had a
very soft landing, but that he thought it would
be hard to narrow down the location to something
less than 15 square miles. The NSBF folks have
been forwarded the following information which
narrows the area down considerably:
Tophat bottom payload impact position is: 85 deg
05.663 minutes S, 164 deg 52.156 minutes W.
best estimate of balloon impact (and telescope)
is: 85 deg 08 min 54 seconds S, 164 deg 26 minutes
31 seconds W. The descent vector was pretty short
(326 deg true @ 5.6-6.1 miles).
means that if one constructs a box 3 nautical
miles square using the estimated balloon impact
position as the center of the box, one could be
fairly confident that the balloon and top payload
would be somewhere within those boundaries.
has been a while since we wrote a status report,
so here is one to official close out the TopHat
Antarctic campaign of 2000-2001, and to let you
know what we are working on.
the team spent a little time resting up after
everything was closed out at McMurdo.
Alex, Jeff, Tom, and James stayed until the bitter
end to get things tidied up, and departed the
"terrible place" in early February.
This is not before the data were safely transferred
to computers back at home. Many on the
team took a few extra days getting home, for some
have looked at that data enough to know that the
equipment was all working as planned during
the entire flight. Our one main concern is the
effects of the 5 degree
top plate tilt, and this will be the subject of
quite a bit of work. We've been able to
construct preliminary maps that show the expected
features in the sky for all five channels, so
this is very good news. Now we need
to convince ourselves that this data is good enough
for the measurements they were intended to make
- measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background
radiation anisotropy at the 1 part in 100,000
level. We're very optimistic, but only time will
tell. We had a collaboration meeting in mid-February
to discuss these topics,
and to formulate a plan for the work ahead.
we are suffering from some very serious funding
shortages. Due to a variety
of reasons that are never straightforward, we
only received enough funding to cover the
Antarctic campaign. Upon our return, many on
the team are working
"as time is available" to do the analysis
(meaning nights and weekends). Thus, we
are not sure when the work can be completed.
This is a great shame,
but is the result of the level of importance that
NASA places on "small" science
during the current period of fiscal constraints.
At a minimum, we expect
that the analysis will take 6 to 8 months of continuous
effort, assuming we can support the salaries,
and probably much longer given the funding situation.
we will all be working hard writing a proposal
(due in June) to complete this work and perhaps
to start some new initiatives.
post updates on this site as results become available.