Nightfall over SAM at B2, photo by Trent Tresch

“The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.”

We know the rabbit hole is deep, very deep, seemingly bottomless at times. And as we fall, as Alice did, we have time to look around, to take in the scenery. But instead of cupboard, bookshelves, and marmalade, Trent and I see rusted steel, chewed wires, junction boxes that need replacing; grinding, sanding, priming, and painting before we can begin to put it all together again.

Yet, this is the most fun we’ve had in a long time!

As Alice thought to herself, `after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’ (Which was very likely true.)

Building SAM is no easy undertaking, but nothing easy is ever as gratifying as something hard. And therein lies the pleasure in the pain, the joy in confounding, for each and every day our vision becomes a little bit more clear. We see how a particular panel can be reused, how with a little effort a seal can be made like new, and how our replacement of 1980s technology with modern equivalents will consume less space and less power, and if we do our jobs right, will be more easily replaced for future upgrades.

Kevin discussing the wiring at the Test Module photo by Kai Staats Kai Staats removing unused components, photo by Trent Tresch Cleaned up electical panel at SAM, photo by Kai Staats

Trent dropping runs, photo by Kai Staats “I removed some three dozen circuits, salvaged several hundred feet of 12g wire, and then installed four temporary circuits for our construction effort. I never tire of tracing the mess of wires, removing unused runs, and flipping a breaker for the first time to see the lights turn on. I can explain the transfer of electrons across the outermost covalent bonds of the copper, sixty times and at 300,000 kilometers per second, yet I still find electricity to be a bit magical.” —Kai

Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw.

And the construction of SAM continues …