Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Awakes from its Winter Sleep
"Zero Emission" research station to welcome international scientific projects and school teacher during BELARE 2011-2012
On November 16th, the first BELARE expedition members landed in Utsteinen, marking the opening of the 2011-2012 Antarctic season. Upon their arrival, the team’s first focus was to clear the accumulated snow and kick the station back into high gear for another thrilling scientific season.
This season, the research teams, national and international will relay each other and take full advantage of the station’s location. From meteoritics to geology, this year will also be in the sign of increased international collaboration with the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (Germany) and the National Institute of Polar Research (Japan). The German delegation will come in full attire, complete with airplane and helicopters, in time for Christmas.
Around the same time, the Mary Arctica icebreaker that was chartered in previous years should arrive in Crown Bay with all the necessary equipment for the structural additions and updates foreseen for the Princess Elisabeth Station. From additional and more efficient solar panels to increased battery capacity or testing new wind turbines, no effort will be spared to maintain the Princess Elisabeth Station as an example for energy efficiency and sustainable technology.
A scientific platform first and foremost, the station facilities will also see substantial upgrades to their information technology and communications structures, as well as to in-field support. The additions to be made include stand-alone GPS systems in the mountains and the installation of radio antennas and repeaters for communications with the coast, the plateau or the air strip at Utsteinen.
Exciting news for this new season will be the presence of a Belgian teacher. Koen Meirlaen and his class of the Leiepoort Campus Sint-Hendrik Deinze were the winners of the PolarQuest contest, an educational project of the IPF. The story of Koen will be followed closely by his class and school in an effort to raise awareness on climate change and related actions.