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IceCube Drilling Rig

MADISIN,WI--A unique drilling rig, soon to be deployed to the South Pole to help an international consortium of scientists and engineers - including many from the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison - to build a neutrino telescope known as IceCube is now being tested at the UW-Madison Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL).

To build IceCube, engineers and technicians will need to deploy strings of bowling ball-sized photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) deep beneath the ice at the South Pole. The PMTs will be frozen into kilometer-deep holes made with the help of the novel hot-water drilling rig now being tested at (PSL). The equipment that makes up the rig includes a drilling tower, a giant hose reel on runners, and a series of mobile drilling structures, including two 10,000-gallon water tanks. The specially constructed drilling rig must not only be able to withstand the harsh conditions of the polar environment, but also must be able to be broken down into pieces that can fit into the cargo bay of Air Force C-130 Tranport aircraft, the workhorse aircraft for the National Science Foundation's research station at the South Pole.

The drilling rig will be available for viewing by news media on Friday, Sept. 19, from 10:30 a.m.-noon. Engineers and technicians will be on hand to describe the rig, and explain IceCube and the science behind neutrino astronomy.

To obtain recent news, graphics and pictures of the IceCube Telescope project on the web, visit

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