Britain's Antarctic research station can ski across the ice

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:08 AM   |   Comments

Feb. 7 (UPI) -- One hundred years after Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic expeditions, The British Antarctic Survey will open their latest research station, Halley VI. It will replace the Halley V facility built 20 years ago.

The new station's skis solve problems encountered by its predecessor. Halley V was built on steel platforms that were raised annually to keep them above the snow. But Halley V's legs were permanently fixed into the ice, and operating the stationary facility became dangerous.

Consisting of several modules linked by enclosed walkways, the new mobile structure's ski stilts keep the station over 12 feet above the ice.

The Natural Environment Research Council and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, who backed the research station's development, hope that Halley VI will become an icon for British science and engineering.

The new Halley VI station has been designed to accommodate 52 crew members in the summer and 16 during the three months of pitch-black winter, when temperatures drop as low as -69 degrees Fahrenheit. A central social unit will provide residents a dining room, bar and gym.

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