As a member of the 2017 wintering team of the Halley station I was completely shocked by the news that the British Antarctic Survey BAS has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. Being at the Brunt ice-shelf at the moment I have a view on the personal, scientific, prestige and financial loss that this decision means, and I can feel the same disappointment that the rest of our team of 16 does. So when I say ‘This is still the Antarctica.‘ it is not a sarcastic comment on a terrible news, rather a token of my appreciation to the power of this place.
The Antarctica was the last major unknown land of our planet. As wild and inaccessible as the most fearsome mountain peaks with double the size of Australia, Antarctica was the subject of the last heroic age of exploration just a few decades before the mankind turned its head towards the stars. The Antarctica was also the subject of an unprecedented world-wide collaboration dedicating the whole continent to scientific investigations and banning both military and mineral exploration activities. But what kind of scientific investigation needs a 14 million sq km laboratory in one of the harshest places of the Earth? Becoming one of the wintering electronic engineers of the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI station is not only the greatest adventure of my life, but also an opportunity to watch and assist some of the major scientific explorations of our age. (Check my weekly diary for more.)