Australian expeditioners will have new wheels when they travel across Antarctica this summer, with an upgraded bus destined for Australia’s Casey research station. The new bus will share the name of its predecessor, ‘Priscilla’, named by expeditioners after the iconic Australian movie about a road-trip across the Simpson Desert by a bus of the same name.
The research vessel Polarstern entered its homeport with the early-morning high tide on Thursday, 20 April 2017, marking the end of a five-month season in the Antarctic for the icebreaker and her crew. Many geoscientists in Bremerhaven can’t wait to see the samples that were collected during a six-week foray into the Amundsen Sea this February and March, which are expected to help decode the glacial history of West Antarctica and improve the accuracy of prognoses for future sea-level rises. Once the samples have been unloaded, preparations will begin for the “Open Ship” event on 22 and 23 April, when the Polarstern will open her doors to the public.
A model of Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker will be on public display for the first time at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart.
Six weeks ago, news of moving the award-winning British Antarctic research station Halley VI were published by BAS. Due to a huge crack in the ice shelf, BAS had decided to relocate the station 23 km further east of its current position. Now, as the relocation is in its final stage, it has been decided to close the station for the winter for safety reasons and remove all personnel before the onset of Antarctic winter.
Some Antarctic research stations have to endure not only harsh environmental conditions but also an unstable and moving underground when being built on ice shelves. British Antarctic station Halley VI is ready to move from its current location to a new spot, 23 km away. The station which has been standing since 2012 at its current position, has been built especially for being moved to other spots instead of being abandoned
Delivering cargo to Antarctic stations is a tricky business with a high degree of logistics behind it. Most of the time, goods and parts are delivered by ship or by airplane during the Southern summer season. During the winter time, stations are usually on their own. The Australian Antarctic Division in cooperation with the Royal Australian Airforce had begun successfully to use C-17A cargo planes to deliver goods to the largest station Casey in East Antarctica. Now, they also successfully completed the first midwinter airdrop of material in Antarctica.
Supplying stations in East Antarctica is a long and costly affair due to the vastness and the distances. Most of the time, stations receive their supplies via ship, which is less expensive but more time consuming. To change this, the Royal Australian Air Force has successfully flown the final flight into East Antarctica in a series of proof of concept flights by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in support of the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).
Drone have made a significant impact in many fields. However, the use of drone in remote and wild areas like Antarctica are still debated for environmental reasons. Nonetheless, these UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) are the eye in the sky and can help in many ways. The Australian Antarctic Division has now used a drone for navigational purposes. Footage provided by a quadcopter drone has helped the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis to navigate through the sea-ice to Casey station.
South Georgia Island sits at the fringes of Antarctica with wild ice-covered peaks, soaring albatrosses, constant wind, massive glaciers calving, and wave-pounded beaches filled with wildlife so dense that it is hard to walk. In summer thousands of fur seals, elephant seals and penguins congregate here to fight, mate and rear their young. But recently a rather extraordinary sight could be seen at South Georgia, a man with an alien-like appendage strapped onto his back. It was explained as the arrival of Google Streetview to South Georgia.