Sunday, March 4, 2012

USNA Polar Science Program (PSP) getting ready to head North!


This is my first post of hopefully many!  Let me first introduce myself.  My name is LCDR John Woods, and I am a military instructor in the Oceanography Department at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.  We have created, with the help of many others, the Polar Science Program (PSP) within the department.  PSP introduces midshipmen to the unique environment of the Polar Regions.  This is accomplished through academic course work, design/build projects (arctic buoy project ABP), and field experiments.

This blog has been set up for our first field campaign starting in a few days, but the story begins about 3 months ago!  Through partners at the University of Washington and the Naval Ice Center, we decide to attempt to have USNA build an arctic buoy.  We purchased a buoy shell from Legnos Boat Incorporated (LBI), and decide to modify it to add some webcams to it.  Sounds simple enough right???  Well, we quickly put a team together of Aerospace Engineering Staff and Students, USNA Hydrodynamic Lab support (Dan 'the man' Rhodes), Oceanography Department Students and Technicians, all being remotely guided by the 'irreplaceable' Todd Valentic out at Stanford, and in 6 short weeks (and many hours of overtime and late nights!), we put together the IceGoat1.

The design, build, test, and delivery phase was a story in itself (stand by for student write up/technical report)!  The support that was necessary to be successful was phenomenal (wink to my wife who held the fort down at home while I was up early and home late, and to Jimmy Aisquith from USNA Oceanography Dept who was instrumental to making IceGoat1 a reality!).

So here we are now in early March getting ready to meet our buoy up in Barrow, Alaska to take part in a much larger experiment being hosted by NASA called BROMEX 2012.  We have 4 students, and 3 officers in total heading North later this week.  We will be in Barrow during USNA Spring Break (think Northern most point in US for your Spring break, instead of Southern most point where most midshipmen will be going, aka Key West, FL), deploying the IceGoat, and also doing some acoustic studies, and Bio-Chemical sampling.  Bottom line, I am excited to introduce 4 midshipmen to one of the most unique environments on Earth!  And collect some useful data along the way!  And, I plan to have them share their experiences here on this blog.

The list of thank yous is long, and I am afraid to miss people so I will avoid an official list with names, but need to mention at a minimum:

USNA Midshipman Research Office and Office of Naval Research (Funding Support for IceGoat and PSP)
USNA STEM Office (providing travel, technical, and moral support) and USNA Foundation
USNA Oceanography Department (allowing us the freedom and support to make this a reality!)
USNA Hydrodynamics Laboratory (where I basically lived with the IceGoat for 6 weeks during assembly)
USNA Small Satellite Lab (For giving the IceGoat it's heart beat from the sun!)
Stanford Research Institute (Advising the computer build, sharing their design, and hosting all IT issues)
University of Washington and the International Arctic Buoy Program (IABP)
National/Naval Ice Center
University of Alaska Fairbanks
UMIAQ (logistics support in Barrow)
My family, who have welcomed the IceGoat with open arms as another member of the family!

I hope you follow along our journey over the next few weeks, and along on all future campaigns...please like us on facebook, follow us on youtube, check out the IceGoat site, share with your friends, and spread the word about the USNA PSP!  We are excited to introduce you to the Arctic, and show you just how beautiful, unique, and harsh of environment it is!  Thanks for following!

First picture from Barrow, Alaska!  Follow along to see many more!

1 comment:

  1. Was it successful? I want to share with my students!!! Can't wait to read more!