Tue, April 27, 2010
Sci-Tech > Science

Distinctive stations on Antarctica

2010-04-27 03:26:21 GMT2010-04-27 11:26:21 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, April 27(Xinhuanet) -- Since the 1950s, many expedition teams from different countries have landed on the Antarctic and constructed 53 research stations of various styles on this amazing land.

Following are some of them:

1.Princess Elisabeth Base, Belgium

Princess Elisabeth Base, Belgium (Photo Source: xinhuanet.com)

The compacted, high-efficient Princess Elisabeth Base, which was taken into use on Feb. 15, 2009, only opens in summer.

As the first zero-emission structure on Antarctic ice sheet, the base adopts a complicated energy-control system and makes full use of its solar power generator set of 52 kWh and wind power generator set of 54 kWh.

Every power outlet of each equipment in the station is numbered and the base will provide electricity as the priority. In other word, if you want to charge your iPod, you must get the permission of the server at first.

2. Sanae IV, South Africa


Sanae IV, South Africa (Photo Source: xinhuanet.com)

SANAE IV is the current research base of the South African National Antarctic Expedition. It was completed in 1997.

As the oldest base among the new generation stations, the location of Sanae IV makes up its technical disadvantages. The base is approximately 80 km from the edge of the continent (also known as the grounding line or hinge zone) and 160 km from the edge of the ice shelf, which makes it become the ideal spot for researches on sensitive seismology and GPS.

3. Neumayer III, Germany


Neumayer III, Germany (Photo Source: xinhuanet.com)

All of the newly designed Antarctic bases are built on the high holders and far from the ground, which makes them avoid the attacks of heavy snow storm in winter. Neumayer III of Germany is a good demonstration.

The station was constructed 6m above ground surface on 16 supporting legs; each hydraulic leg rests on a solid snow surface. A garage and further technical equipment is located within a snow cavern below snow level at the front of the station. The moving concrete supporting feet are powered by hydraulic machinery. Through an annual lifting procedure of 80 to 100cm, it is expected that new snow resulted platform sinking can be prevented.

4. Halley VI, UK


Halley VI, UK (Photo Source: xinhuanet.com)

The scientists have worked in this historic Antarctic base for 54 years. The ozonosphere hole was discovered here at the earliest. Tracing the conditions of atmospheric layer needs stable observing location. But it is hard to keep unmoving on the Antarctic area, because the ice shelf keeps on moving, just as a convey belt which sends the researchers to the edge of the land.

The old Halley has been abandoned for severe displacement. The new base looks like a giant camping car. When the ice shelf moves, the workstation with wheels can be dragged back to the original position.

5. Concordia Station, France and Italy


Concordia Station, France and Italy (Photo Source: xinhuanet.com)

Concordia Research Station, which opened in 2005, is a research facility that was built 3,233 m above sea level at a location called Dome C on the Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica.

Concordia Station is the third permanent, all-year research station on the Antarctic Plateau besides Vostok Station (Russian) and the Amundsen-Scott Station (U.S.) at the Geographic South Pole. It is jointly operated by scientists from France and Italy.

Concordia Station has been identified as a suitable location for extremely accurate astronomical observations. The transparency of the Antarctic atmosphere permits the observation of stars even when the sun is at an elevation angle of 38 C Celcius. Other advantages include the very low infrared sky emission, the high percentage of cloud-free time and the low aerosol and dust content of the atmosphere.

6. Amundsen Scott Station, U.S.


Amundsen Scott Station, U.S. (Photo Source: xinhuanet.com)

The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is the southernmost continually inhabited place on the planet. Its name honors Roald Amundsen who reached the South Pole in December 1911, and Robert F. Scott who reached the South Pole the following month.

As the largest station at the inland of Antarctica, the Amundsen-Scott Station, which cost 12 summers to build it, can contain 150 scientists and staffs. And all the construction materials were sent by C-130 Hercules.

The appearance of station looks like an airfoil with supporting of 35 legs. This design can prevent the accumulation of snow under the station. If the accumulated snow is too heavy, the hydraulic cylinder can raise the whole structure onto two-storey-high distance.

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