1 December, 1996

Some of the research facilities had an open house today in which there were tours of their labs and discussions of their research. I was able to visit the ASTRO (Antarctic Submillimeter Telescope Remote Observatory), the CARA (Center for Astronomical Research Antarctica), and the AMANDA Projects. The Astro program utilizes a submillimeter telescope that receives signals in the range of radio waves from stars, nebullae and other sources in space. The telescope is able to detect the types of elements and the concentrations of elements and molecules that make up these stars, learning how different elements are created in deep space. One element they are especially interested is Carbon. The carbon that is in our bodies was once part of a star that exploded at the creation of the universe, according to the Big Bang theory. They are interested in looking at how carbon is created in stars throughout the galaxy.

The Amanda project is primarily interested in finding subatomic parcticles called neutrinos. They find these parcticles by building a large detector in the Antarctic ice sheet. They are drilling holes in the ice using hot water and then placing optical cables in the holes. This will create a huge detector system for capturing the light signals given off by neutrinos as they slow down in the ice.

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