The Subglacial Lake Ellsworth Consortium is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council

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Kevin Saw is a mechanical engineer from the National Oceanography Centre and is working with the water sampling probe design team

meet the engineering team - Kevin Saw

My involvement in this project

I am head of the mechanical engineering team at NOC engaged in the design of the sampling probe and deployment systems.  The sampling probe comprises 24 bespoke water collection bottles, two bespoke particle filters, various proprietary sensors, two high definition cameras and numerous electronics housings, all of which must withstand the crushing pressure in the lake (300 atmospheres) and sub-zero temperatures. As such, the probe has presented some major engineering challenges: it must be contained in a cylindrical envelope of 200 mm diameter by 5.5m long, be completely sterile and must not introduce any contaminants into the lake.

What does being in this project mean to you personally?

This is in many ways the most technically challenging project of my career to date - but challenge is what engineers thrive on! It is also incredibly exciting and at the same time a little daunting. Because of the extremely remote location and sheer difficulty in getting there, it is imperative that the probe works first time - straight out of the box. Then there's the fact that 'our probe' will for the first time, ever, provide scientists with a window into a world that has been locked away under 3km of ice for thousands of years - this is quite humbling now I stop to think about it...

Have you been to Antarctica before?

Unfortunately I will not be travelling south for this expedition; nor have I yet had the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic continent. However, I was fortunate enough to take part in a scientific research cruise six years ago to the Antarctic coast and this in itself was truly awe-inspiring.

SCIENCE  TEAM

 

DEEP FIELD TEAM

ENGINEERING  TEAM

 

Chris Hill

Matt Mowlem

Andy Tait

Andy Webb

Ed Waugh

Keith Makinson

Nick Rundle

Jim Wyatt

Kevin Saw

Rob Brown