Given the short "season" at the South Pole, the drill and deployment teams worked around the clock in shifts to make the most of their limited time on location.
Why go to all this trouble? Well, the polar ice is very pure, optically transparent, and free of radioactivity, which can add a lot of extra background "noise" to the data. These qualities make the ice of Antarctica the ideal medium for neutrino detection.
IceCube is designed to look for neutrinos through the Earth, using the planet as a filter to disregard muons from cosmic rays - which make up most of the muons picked up by the detector. But unlike cosmic rays, neutrinos can pass through the Earth unhindered. It's only when those rare collisions occur that muons from neutrinos are detected. And those muons would be traveling upward. (See image at right for a simulated track of a high-energy neutrino moving upward through IceCube.)
Originally, IceCube was designed to have only 80 DOM strings, but in 2009, the collaboration decided to add six more strings right smack in the middle of the array, at shorter intervals (seven meters apart). Called DeepCore, this smaller, denser array should be able to detect very low-energy neutrinos as well as neutralinos (candidates for dark matter particles), and to study neutrino oscillations - how neutrinos change "flavors" as they travel through the Earth.