Halley VI, Antarctic Futuremobile, Opens This Week

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Big news for explorers and Antarctic architects alike, as we celebrate the completion and grand opening of the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI Antarctic research facility this week. The Halley VI replaces its 20 year old predecessor, the Halley V, and is the sixth Halley station to be built on the unstable, floating Brunt Ice Shelf. The Ice Shelf is essentially huge panes of ice that have loosed themselves from the continent itself. The first four Halley’s were either buried in snow or abandoned, as the conditions in the wilderness are unpredictable, as are the movements of the Ice Shelf itself. The challenge, explains architect Hugh Broughton in this informative BBC news video, was to keep the Halley VI from reaching a similar fate.

The building team rose to the challenge by making Halley VI mobile, both vertically and horizontally. The facility is composed of eight modules, each 160 square meters across, that are strung together like a train. These modules are supported on hydraulic legs, which allow the modules to move vertically, and the legs themselves end in giant steel skis, which allow the modules to move horizontally. The team stripped each module into parts to transport them across the ice, then put them back together once on the ice shelf.

More on Halley VI at Gizmodo and Treehugger.

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