“Our Russian counterparts helped us with shipping the Belarusian Antarctic Station module and its assembly, and praised the design’s simplicity and relative ease of assembly. Major construction is taking place in Antarctica, requiring the import of engineers and machinery, which entails significant expenditure. Our constructive solution is cheaper and easier to implement, with sections assembled almost by hand,” underlines the head of the 8th Belarusian Antarctic Expedition, Alexey Gaidashov.
Polar researchers against the background of first module of Belarusian Antarctic Station
This summer, representatives of the Russian Antarctic Expedition are intending to visit the facility where Belarusian modules are being manufactured, and may conclude contracts. “Russia has serious plans for the next four years, constructing permanent Antarctic camps. Our solution matches meets their requirements, so they’re ready to collaborate with the Belarusian manufacturer,” explains Mr. Gaidashov.
Remarkably, within a limited time, the Belarusian Antarctic team has accomplished all assigned tasks and has conducted much research. Despite tough climatic conditions, the team has assembled the first three-unit module, at Vechernyaya Mountain, in Eastern Antarctica. During the final stage of the state programme, our Belarusian specialists had five tasks, four requiring field research. “We’ve collected scientific material related to geophysics, biology, and hydrobiology, and have carried out conventional meteorological and ozonometric observations. Sampling, metrics and other investigations have mostly been conducted using domestically-produced devices,” emphasises Mr. Gaidashov.
Vladimir Gusakov, Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Science of Belarus, has highly praised work completed by the 8th Belarusian Antarctic Expedition. “Following tradition, we’re welcoming and thanking our countrymen: our polar explorers. The team has returned, and everyone is safe and sound. All the materials collected will be submitted to a special committee. I think there’s enough work for the coming year, until the next expedition is launched,” he has told expedition participants.
He emphasised that Belarus has devoted much attention to Antarctic research. “Belarus needs to have equal participant status in order to study and utilise polar areas. Thanks to our polar explorers, we have an opportunity to see unique materials and develop institutions focusing on various areas of research.” The National Academy of Science has drafted a new state programme, entitled ‘Monitoring of Earth Polar Areas, Creating a Belarusian Antarctic Station and Maintaining Polar Expedition Activities for 2016-2020’. Launching a fully-fledged station, Belarus will take another step forward in settling in Antarctica, obtaining status as an Antarctic Treaty consultative party.
Participants of the official meeting at the Academy of Science watched a film featuring unique footage of constructing the Antarctic station, as well as detailing everyday life for the Belarusian expedition.
By Alexander Pimenov