From: Associated Press
Published July 20, 2005 12:00 AM

Britain to Build New Base for Scientific Research in the Antarctic

LONDON — Britain plans replace its aging scientific research station in the Antarctic with a structure on skis so that it can move away from dangerous ice, officials said Tuesday.


The structure will be designed to protect scientists all year round from outside temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit), the British Antarctic Survey said.


The station, to be known as Halley VI, will be situated inland from the current Halley V station, which is 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) from Britain on the Brunt Ice Shelf.


Halley V needs to be replaced because, with the melting of the ice shelves, it is in danger of floating out to sea, the BAS said.


The BAS and the Royal Institute of British Architects held a competition to find the right design for the new station and chose one by London-based Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects.


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"This competition was launched to bring innovation and creativity to the challenge of building a scientific research station on a floating ice shelf," said BAS director Chris Rapley.


Work on the station is expected to begin in 18 months.


The new station will comprise modular buildings that are built on legs, with a ski on the end of each leg. When they need to be moved as the ice flows out to sea, they can be towed by a bulldozer.


The extendable legs will also ensure the structure is kept above an accumulated snowfall of five feet (1.5 meters) a year.


It will use renewable energy sources and improved methods of handling waste.


The station, the sixth built in the area since 1956, will be home to scientists and engineers studying the effects ozone depletion, atmospheric pollution, sea level rise and climate change.


Ozone has been measured at the Halley site since 1956. In 1985, the center identified a springtime depletion in stratospheric ozone, which helped to persuade the international community to curtail production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.


Source: Associated Press


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