A silhouette of the IceCube neutrino detector facility at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
Scott Smith, a member of the IceCube research team at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, is covered with frost on a typical spring day at Pole.
Jessica Hodges, a physics graduate student with IceCube, University of Wisconsin-Madison, is pictured with a digital Optical Module (DOM) -- the sensors that make up the giant telescope.
Artist's rendering of a Cerenkov light cone passing through the IceCube telescope. The Cerenkov light is created when a neutrino collides with a water molecule deep in the ice of Antarctica, producing a type of particle called a muon, which radiates the blue light.
Burying the sensors in the ice is its own challenge; as you might expect, the team employs hot water drills shown here to penetrate the South Pole's ice.
A digital sensor, one of the thousands that make up the IceCube Neutrino Detector, is carefully lowered to its resting place beneath Antarctica's ice.
A damaged hose spews during drilling for the IceCube project.
A close up view of one of the sensors that make up the IceCube Neutrino Detector.
A plane circles over the IceCube installation -- conveniently located at the bottom of the world.
An Air Force Hercules sits on the "tarmac" outside the Amundsen base.
How do you manage snow in Antarctica? it's easy ... with construction equipment.
An artist's illustration of a row of sensors. About eighty holes have been drilled in total, each one approximately 2.4 km deep. Neutrino detection instruments were lowered into each hole.
The cold and windy road on the way to the IceCube lab.
After five cold years, researchers are set to finish a giant underground telescope buried beneath the South Pole. Accordingly called the IceCube Observatory, completion is expected late Friday, once the last of more than 5,000 optical sensors is buried as much as two miles below the permanent ice cap covering Antarctica.