Autonomous low-power magnetic data collection platform to enable remote high latitude array deployment

Musko, Stephen B.; Clauer, C. Robert; Ridley, Aaron J.; Arnett, Kennneth L.
April 2009
Review of Scientific Instruments;Apr2009, Vol. 80 Issue 4, p044501
Academic Journal
A major driver in the advancement of geophysical sciences is improvement in the quality and resolution of data for use in scientific analysis, discovery, and for assimilation into or validation of empirical and physical models. The need for more and better measurements together with improvements in technical capabilities is driving the ambition to deploy arrays of autonomous geophysical instrument platforms in remote regions. This is particularly true in the southern polar regions where measurements are presently sparse due to the remoteness, lack of infrastructure, and harshness of the environment. The need for the acquisition of continuous long-term data from remote polar locations exists across geophysical disciplines and is a generic infrastructure problem. The infrastructure, however, to support autonomous instrument platforms in polar environments is still in the early stages of development. We report here the development of an autonomous low-power magnetic variation data collection system. Following 2 years of field testing at the south pole station, the system is being reproduced to establish a dense chain of stations on the Antarctic plateau along the 40° magnetic meridian. The system is designed to operate for at least 5 years unattended and to provide data access via satellite communication. The system will store 1 s measurements of the magnetic field variation (<0.2 nT resolution) in three vector components plus a variety of engineering status and environment parameters. We believe that the data collection platform can be utilized by a variety of low-power instruments designed for low-temperature operation. The design, technical characteristics, and operation results are presented here.


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