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Argentina installs three new laboratories and two scientific refuges in Antarctica

"They have to do with a need to have infrastructure designed and conceived from the beginning for science," explained Patricia Ortúzar, national director of the Antarctic, an organization that is part of the Argentine Foreign Ministry.

23 de April de 2023 09:52

Five buildings will be completed during the current Antarctic campaign.

Three new multidisciplinary laboratories destined for the Esperanza, Orcadas and San Martín bases, along with two scientific refuges on the Vega and Cerro Nevado islands, are part of the first stage of the infrastructure program promoted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, which seeks to promote research in the Argentine Antarctica.

These five buildings will be completed during the current Antarctic campaign, while next summer the construction of similar laboratories is expected at the Marambio base and on Isla de los Estados.

These new locations facilitate the processing and analysis of samples in the same places where they are collected and, also, the installation of teams of researchers in places where until now they set up camps, allowing them to extend their stays and expand their monitoring capabilities.

Patricia Ortúzar , national director of the Antarctic, an organization that is part of the Argentine Foreign Ministry, told Télam that "the new laboratories have to do with a need to have infrastructure designed and conceived from the beginning for science."

He added that "at the Esperanza, Orcadas and San Martín bases, although there are spaces that are used as laboratories, none had been thought of or designed for that use. The purpose of all the Antarctic bases is to provide logistical support to science and it is something "That we can improve with these three laboratories that add facilities to research."

«The Cerro Nevado Island refuge will allow scientists to monitor the emperor penguin colony on that island, which is the northernmost of that species, which has the particularity that its reproduction cycle is winter, which makes it very difficult. their surveillance, they will be able to work comfortably at the time when the species reproduces and not arrive in summer when these birds are no longer there," he noted.

The official pointed out that, "although the team that studies glaciology on Vega Island is very experienced in scientific camps, this new shelter will give them more facilities and possibilities to stay in more adverse climatic conditions than those tolerated by the tents." .

"When the first shelters were built in the mid-20th century, they were intended as survival shelters; these new shelters are designed with science as the axis of Antarctic activity," Ortúzar completed.

The Undersecretary of Institutional Coordination of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Pablo Núñez , stated that "these new facilities are very valuable in different dimensions. The ministry is in charge of the 'Pampa Azul' initiative, so investing in science in the "Antarctica is very important in itself, and it is also about consolidating a sovereign presence through research."

«It has been a long time since new infrastructure has been built in our Antarctic bases. The last laboratory that was built was at the Carlini base in cooperation with Germany more than 30 years ago.That is why initiatives like this and the Construir Ciencia program, which finances this type of projects with funds from the national treasury, are so important," he highlighted.

Núñez maintained that "all the science done in Antarctica is of increasing value as we are seeing in research on climate change or biodiversity, and even more so if it is done with the multidisciplinary perspective offered by these new laboratories and refuges." ».

«This is the first stage of a project that seeks to install this type of laboratories in all the permanent bases in Argentina and strengthen the reactivation of the Petrel base with a large laboratory of about 800 square meters that is planned for when the work of the main house," he explained.

The official announced that "next summer a similar laboratory is planned at the Marambio base, and we are also working on the idea of subantarctic laboratories with the idea of building a subantarctic scientific base on Isla de los Unidos also during next summer."

«We are investing throughout the Argentine maritime coast, in Mar Del Plata, San Antonio Este, Río Gallegos, Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia to strengthen our scientific infrastructure and we also want to enhance our research at sea through a project with the state-owned Tandanor shipyards. and Río Santiago for the acquisition of two oceanographic vessels with polar capacity," concluded Núñez.

Science, Technology and Innovation also finances the equipment of the laboratories with which the icebreaker "Almirante Irízar" was equipped in the modernization carried out by the Tandanor state shipyard after the fire that the ship suffered in 2007.

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Telam

By Agenda Malvinas

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