10 November, 2017 News stories

Halley VI Research Station is getting ready to re-open after its winter closure last March.  In the past week a 12-person technical team flew onto the Brunt Ice Shelf by Twin Otter aircraft to begin re-commissioning the research station.

The first tasks were to re-establish power and heating in the summertime accommodation block, and begin melting snow for the station water supply.

Halley VI summer accommodation block and garage

In spite of being shut down for the 8 months of winter (105 days of which is in 24 hour darkness) and freezing temperatures reaching minus 50 degrees, the research facility is in very good shape.  In the coming weeks the team will restore full power, heating and water to the main modular building in readiness for the arrival of rest of the science and engineering support teams around Christmas time.

Halley VI Station Operations Manager John Eager says,

“The team was very pleased to find the station in such good shape. It’s testament to how well last season’s team carried out the shut-down just after we successfully re-located the modules 23km inland.  Apart from a few carpet tiles lifting, and some crazing on inner glazing, everything is exactly as we left it.  It is early days in the season, and many complex challenges remain, but it’s a great start by the team on the ice.”

More detailed technical investigations will be carried out to assess how well all the materials and equipment faired during winter.  This is particularly important because British Antarctic Survey will once again close the station for the 2018 winter while the chasm and crack on the ice shelf continue to move.

Interior of large red module showing that it survived the cold harsh winter successfully
penguins from the air
Aerial view of Halley sea ice showing penguin colonies