Change of address in Antarctica
The British Antarctic Survey, the UK’s operations and research center in Antarctica, has begun preparations to move the Halley VI Research Station, threatened by a crevasse 7 km long in the ice platform on which it is built near the Weddel Sea. The station was designed to be transportable, and this will be the first time the structure will “walk” on the ice. Its eight connected modules are mounted on hydraulic legs fitted with 150-meter skis. Station leader Adam Bradley told the journal New Scientist, “We’ll break down the base into individual modules and each will be towed to a new site.” The move is expected to be completed between 2016 and 2017. The station has been operating since 2012 and performs research on meteorology, chemistry and atmospheric sciences. For example, it measures air quality and the amount of ozone in the atmosphere. In addition to laboratories and radar, Halley has housing, recreational and relaxation areas, offices and cafeterias. It usually accommodates about 16 people in winter. Between December and March, that figure soars to more than 70, and includes researchers, engineers, technicians and physicians.