“Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth.” Davis station celebrates Star Wars plus stories on science and work, both on and off station.

Star Wars party

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

…vast civilizations have evolved, and ruling the galaxy is an interstellar Empire created from the ruins of an Old Republic that held sway for generations. It is a time of civil war, as solar systems have broken away from the Empire and are waging a war of rebellion.

During a recent battle, technical schematics for a gigantic space station, code named the Death Star, have been unearthed by Rebel spies, and a young woman who is a dissident member of the Imperial Senate, under the cover of a diplomatic mission to the planet Alderaan, is trying to smuggle these plans to the Rebellion. But her spacecraft is attacked by a vast warship of the Empire and seized. The dissident Senator is captured, but the plans for the Death Star are nowhere to be found. While soldiers of the Empire search the nearby planet Tatooine, a series of incidents sweeps up a young desert farmer with dreams of being a fighter pilot in the Rebellion, as he winds up with the Death Star plans and also the assistance of an elderly hermit who once served as a warrior of an ancient order whose chosen weapons were powerful energy swords known as lightsabers.

The pair recruit a cynical interstellar smuggler and his outsized alien copilot with an ancient freighter heavily modified for combat to help them reach Alderaan — but the planet is obliterated and now the foursome must rescue the young woman held prisoner by the Empire and lead an attack by the Rebellion against the Death Star before it can annihilate all hope of restoring freedom to the galaxy.

So the story goes…”

Star Wars opening sequence (1977) 

Nick’s Cartoon of the Week

Is it a mobile science lab, or a caravan?

In the name of science

Alyce and Sarah were again positioned a few kilometres off station this week with their mobile science lab (the caravan) to conduct water sampling. One of the tasks they are required to do before sampling is place a probe through a hole in the sea ice. This probe profiles the temperature, conductivity, salinity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and depth of the water.

They also placed a small camera through the hole, lowered it 38 metres to the ocean floor and took a few photos of what is lurking all those metres down. Lots of sea spiders, upright coral and other interesting critters can easily be seen.

Paul and Dave are still enjoying the weekly trip out to the seven ice drilling locations just off station. The sea ice is now over one metre thick so Paul has had to add an extension to his existing one metre long ice drill. 

On the job

Platcha bound 

On Monday a team of four (Nick, Val, Josh and Narelle) left station early so they could arrive at Platcha hut in plenty of time to put in a solid days work. Val and Nick made a few small alterations to one of the air vents, Val swapped over the heater with a recently serviced one, and Josh, Nick and Val removed the old carpet from the floor and laid new carpet tiles. Narelle de-blizzed the FTO hut, and cleaned the walls and shelves in the main hut. Then, close to the end of the day, a stocktake was completed on all utensils in the hut and food in the emergency food containers. After a final hut clean on Tuesday morning we were all back on station in plenty of time for lunch.

Consumables stocktake 

Chef Lesley and Station Supplies Officer Dom, along with numerous helpers, finally finished the large task of counting all station consumables and other miscellaneous items which fall under the ‘general community’ category. This includes all food (dry, canned, frozen and refrigerated), crockery, cutlery, cooking equipment and spare parts, toiletries of every description, cleaning products, bedding, sporting goods, and more. We honestly believe Lesley and Dom will continue to count and think of spreadsheets in their sleep for the next week!

The invention of ‘double doming' 

Stu and Rob (Davis communications staff) were very pleased with themselves this week when they solved a long standing annoying problem. Many months ago, the backup satellite antennae was relocated to the roof of a remote hut at the end of the station. However, the temps dropped as we approached winter and it stopped talking to the satellites, whilst it concentrated on warming its chips. In order to heat it, Stu and Rob cut some holes from inside the hut to pump air up through tubes into the dome. This worked really well but, despite best efforts, it wasn’t quite able to stay warm enough. Today Stu and Rob introduced a new method of ‘double doming’ (copyright pending) to insulate the warm air trapped in the lower dome.

At the time of going to press, the second dome has been installed and within fifteen minutes Stu and Rob have noticed a temp increase of three degrees already — looking promising!

In the field

Last weekend PJ, Dave, Paul and Narelle decided to make the most of the perfect weather conditions (no wind and plenty of sunshine) and visit Lake Druzhby and Crooked Lake, with an overnight stay at Watts hut.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather — with the sun shining on the smooth, blue frozen lakes we stopped every few minutes to take photos. Just when we thought we’d taken enough we’d drive around into another little cove and there was more to see. The highlight of the trip involved placing a bright light one metre deep into the lake ice, late at night.