Britain's new Antarctic research station is no ordinary science lab. When completed in 2008, the entire base--called Halley VI--will be mounted on 37 pairs of 3.3 meter (11 foot)-long steel skis.
Why the skis? The base--used to study Interactions among Earth's atmosphere, ocean, and ice--will be located on a flowing ice shelf. This massive sheet of floating ice extends off Antarctica's coast. Its tip can break off, or calve, and sail away as a floating iceberg. "Calving could bring the ice edge too close to Halley VI," says Antarctic researcher Andy Smith. That would put the base in danger of floating away atop an iceberg or plunging into the frigid ocean.
If Halley VI's ice edge starts to get too near, tractors will be able to tow the ski-riding station inland, to safer ground.
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|Title Annotation:||EARTH/POLAR REGIONS; research base designed on skis|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Oct 24, 2005|
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