Engineer Nelson learned the exercises as he went for an ice-cold trip to Antarctica



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He works in Australia, the United States and Japan, but nothing compares to this work trip: a three-week assignment in Antarctica.

Owen Little hydraulic engineers usually work in the sunny port of Nelson, at Fluid Power Solutions, but this week it will work in a very different climate: open ice fields 20 km from McMurdo Station.

Little said he always wanted to go to Antarctica, and didn't even manage to apply before, so he jumped at the opportunity when researchers from the University of Minnesota Duluth began Australasian hunting for hydraulic engineers.

The researchers are working on a $ 7 million project called Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID), which aims to drill more than 3000m into Antarctic ice and bedrock to take core samples, but problems that have not been determined by the need for drilling equipment. help with hydraulic engineers.

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With Little's help, a US research team will be able to access ice that has not been seen for thousands of years.

Anna Pearson

With Little's help, a US research team will be able to access ice that has not been seen for thousands of years.

This is where Little comes in

"My job is to diagnose the problem and fix it with limited equipment available if I can," he said.

"If that's not possible, I will write a report when I return to Nelson about this problem and the best way to fix it."

Little flew out of Christchurch on Thursday night, and will spend three weeks working at -40 ° C to help diagnose and resolve problems.

With his help, a team of US researchers will be able to access thousands of meters of ice that has never seen light for thousands of years, and billions of years old beneath it.

Samples from this depth will allow scientists to study ancient climatic conditions on Earth.

Little said there were some people who would wait at home.

"I have worked in many places throughout the world throughout my hydraulic career, but you don't often go to Antarctica. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Little said he had started training for the unique challenges that would be faced in Antarctica, but said he still did not know what to expect.

"It's a little adventure," he said.

"There are 24 hours of daylight there and I think I'm on Sunday, so I hope I can go out and take a few trips, maybe go out and see some penguins."

Little will use his expertise to help US scientists drill more than 3 km into Antarctic ice.

MARTIN DE RUYTER / STUFF

Little will use his expertise to help US scientists drill more than 3 km into Antarctic ice.

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