BAS Showcases Vehicle Fleet
British Antarctic Survey recently showcased its unique fleet of vehicles to be used for the construction of the new Halley VI Research Station. Custom built to work in the inhospitable conditions of Antarctica, a selection of vehicles and machinery were exhibited at the Cambridge offices for staff and suppliers, before they are shipped to the Antarctic later this year.
Built to withstand temperatures down to -50°C, the vehicles included a Canadian Foremost crane mounted with a Palfinger Knuckle boom crane, Caterpillar Challenger 765B tracked tractors, Honda quad bikes with tracks, Sno-cats and snowmobiles.
Halley VI is replacing the current Halley V Research Station. It will be located 16,000km from the UK on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is 150m thick and flows at a rate of 0.4 km per year north-west from Coats Land towards the sea, where, at irregular intervals, it calves off as vast icebergs. Scientists predict a major calving event from 2010 onwards. There is a growing risk that ice on which the existing Halley Research Station sits could break off in the next decade. The new station will allow long-running research on global change to continue at the site where the ozone hole was discovered.
Building of Halley VI starts in December 2007.