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29 May 2018

Plans to finish building second object of Belarusian Antarctic station within two years

MINSK, 29 May (BelTA) – The construction of the second object of the Belarusian Antarctic station is supposed to be finished within the next two years, BelTA learned from Aleksei Gaidashov, head of the 10th Belarusian Antarctic expedition, on 29 May.

Aleksei Gaidashov said: “The construction of the second object of the Belarusian Antarctic station is past its equator: four sections out of eight ones have been installed, including a science lab, two residential sections, and a sanitary and hygienic one. The rest is supposed to be finished in the next two years. There are plans to assemble the second science lab and a medical section, which Antarctic winter requires.”

The construction of the Belarusian Antarctic station has been in progress since 2015. The first object — a three-section module — was assembled during the eighth expedition. A platform for the second module was installed and some other structures were erected during the ninth expedition. Three new sections were commissioned during the tenth expedition.

Aleksei Gaidashov noted that the Antarctic season had been difficult with regard to weather conditions and productive with regard to scientific research and technical work. “The season was rather lengthy. It lasted for four months — from early December through the end of March. We sent an avant-garde group for the first time. A number of participants of the expedition were delivered to Antarctica before the cargo arrived. We worked for one month on our own, doing scientific research and preparing for the arrival of the ship. After the cargo was delivered, we did the necessary work fast using the prepared sites,” he said.

Aleksei Gaidashov also summed up results of the ten Belarusian Antarctic expeditions. “Quality steps forward have been made in the ten years. All the scientific observation routines have been automated. Life support processes have been automated. Important research projects have been carried out. New buildings and structures have been erected. Construction will go on in order to get down to wintering by 2019,” he noted.

The tenth Belarusian Antarctic expedition was solemnly launched on 8 November 2017. Seven people were sent to the ice continent to continue building the station and carry out scientific research as part of the government program on exploring Antarctica. The team included seven people: the expedition head Aleksei Gaidashov, the engineer-radio operator Maksim Gorbatsevich, the technician for operating and repairing machines and mechanisms Artur Ivashko, the medic Dmitry Kovko, the mechanic engineer Aleksei Zakhvatov, the engineer and geophysicist Pavel Shablyko, and the buildings and structures support technician and repairman Vladimir Nesterovich.

In addition to installing modules of the Belarusian Antarctic station participants of the expedition commissioned them and carried out a large number of scientific projects in line with the relevant program. Among other things they studied the state of the Antarctic environment around the station, examined the state of the ozone layer, studied UV radiation, climate, and other natural parameters. Ground and sea biological resources were studied in detail in order to evaluate the prospects of using them in the future. Instruments designed specifically for Antarctica (radiometers, magnetometers, lidars, and other ones) were tested in action. Geological, geophysical, geochemical, and other parameters of the Earth surface and the sea bottom near the Antarctica shore were studied for the sake of evaluating their mineral potential.

Representatives of the country’s scientific community met with participants of the tenth Belarusian Antarctic expedition at premises of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus on 29 May. The Belarusian polar explorers informed those present about results of their work and showed a movie about the expedition.

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