Scott Base – Sir Edmund Hillary’s legacy lives on as the first piece of the new Scott Base infrastructure is installed in Antarctica.
The small building will support several science experiments, some of which have continued uninterrupted since 1957 when Sir Ed and his team set up Scott Base.
Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive, Sarah Williamson, says scientists at Scott Base are working to answer some of the world’s most important science questions.
Looking out towards Black and White Islands, the new building will house the latest model of a sensitive radio receiver tuned to measure chlorine monoxide which is a key compound in the destruction of ozone. Scott Base is only one of three sites in the world with such measurements, ideally situated beneath the annually occurring ozone hole.
The building will also provide data logging support and power to a number of other experiments in the area, including a weather station, seismic experiment, geophysical monitoring using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and the Aarddvark experiment which measures space weather.
The new science building has been constructed to endure the hostile Antarctic environment of extreme winds and cold polar temperatures and is elevated to help manage snowdrift.
The new base is being designed to facilitate world-leading science and will better support local and deep-field science with improved efficiencies.
Constructing the new base had the potential to impact some of the long-term science experiments, so they needed to be moved with sufficient time to validate data collected in the new facilities.
The building sailed south on the HMNZS Aotearoa on her maiden voyage to Antarctica, courtesy of the New Zealand navy.
The green building pays homage to the existing Scott Base which will be deconstructed and returned to New Zealand after the new base is up and running.
New equipment instrument will be installed during the 2022-23 summer season, after the new long-term science building has been commissioned.
The redevelopment of Scott Base will replace the existing base with three interconnected buildings and upgrade the Ross Island wind farm. The new base will support New Zealand’s presence in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica for the next 50 years.
The new facility will be fitted with wet and dry laboratories, science workspaces, biosecurity facilities, event staging, and storage areas. There is also an external deck for testing equipment or preparing samples for shipments and a roof deck for science.
The new base will accommodate up to 100 people and will consist of an accommodation, dining and welfare building, a science and management building, and an engineering and storage building.