Brazil`s Antarctic station to come alive again

Last Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2013 - 10:03

Sao Paulo: Brazil`s scientific station in Antarctica will arise from its ashes in the coming months with the rebuilding of the centre for climate-change research which was destroyed by fire last year.

The cost of constructing the new complex is estimated at between 70 million and 100 million reais, (around $35 million to $45 million), Emerson Vidigal, one of the architects of the Estudio 41 company contracted to design the project, has said.

With facilities covering more than 4,500 sq. metres (48,000 sq. feet), 17 laboratories and enough living space to lodge 64 people, the new Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station on King George Island will start construction during the 2013-2014 Southern Hemisphere summer.

"The station`s design has been completed, and next October an international bidding will be held to choose the company to do the construction," Vidigal said.

Surrounded by a naturally hostile climate, the new base will have a laboratory complex "must better equipped and more modern" than the previous one, to facilitate researchers` work on the white continent.

"Scientific research in the region is undeniably important for understanding how the Earth works.

"It is essential for revealing the complex interactions among the natural processes of the globe and of Antarctica," Brazilian Navy Captain Geraldo Juacaba said.

"One priority has been the adoption of technologies aimed at minimising environmental impact, because of the environmental concerns that involve the whole continent," the captain said.

Antarctica has the lowest temperatures on the planet, winds of up to 300 km (180 miles) per hour, and 14 million sq. km (5 million sq. miles), of which 90 percent is covered by an ice cap 2,500 metres thick.

A fire in 2012, in which two soldiers died, destroyed more than two-thirds of the old base, including the main building, where the residential area was located.

The fire consumed part of the labs and with them all the material from the studies taken during the previous Southern Hemisphere summer, which should have been used as the basis for research work throughout the year.

The inauguration of the new base is expected to be delayed until 2015, because, according to Vidigal, it is only possible to work in the area during summer.


First Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013 - 10:03

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