Title: Advances in Development of Seismo Geodetic Ice Penetrator (SGIP)
Speakers: Michael Brown, Aaron Makikalli, Alex Miller, HSL
Abstract: We aim to develop an air-dropped ice penetrator for evaluating glacial dynamics in the Antarctic’s Ross Ice Shelf to better estimate the rate of long term sea level rise. Dropping a seismic probe from a helicopter offers several advantages over sending out a conventional crewed mission, such as reduced transit time and access to hard-to-reach locations. In order to achieve consistent seismic coupling to the ice mass, the “spike” portion of the penetrator must be fully submerged, and mechanically separated from the “flare” section of the penetrator after impact into any snow and ice condition. Using hand calculations and FEA simulations, we perform analysis on how the shape of the penetrator, drop speed, drop angle, snow and ice conditions, and penetrator mass affect the impact dynamics. These results will guide the design of the penetrator structure and shape, requirements for the electrical system as well as the accepted range of snow and ice conditions. Furthermore, a thermal analysis will ensure that components inside the penetrator remain within their operating temperature without melting the surrounding ice. The penetrator will be designed to tolerate the high shock expected on impact in Antarctica such that delicate components (seismometer, antennas, and batteries) survive. Finally, we will validate these designs with a shock testbed, used to reproduce the expected shock damage during deployment.
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