A solemn ceremony to launch the 14th Belarusian Antarctic expedition took place in the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB), the NASB press service told BelTA.
A total of 11 people led by irreplaceable Aleksei Gaidashov will travel to Antarctica this year. The expedition includes scientific personnel from institutions of the National Academy of Sciences (the national center for polar research, the Physics Institute, the United Informatics Institute, the applied science center for bioresources), the Belarusian State University (the national research center for monitoring the ozone sphere), and other Belarusian organizations. The team includes specialists, who have already been to Antarctica, and new people.
The expedition members will have to work hard for months in order to expand the Belarusian Antarctic station Gora Vechernyaya and carry out scientific studies within the framework of a new Antarctic exploration program.
According to First Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Sergei Chizhik, the main purpose of the expedition is to acquire new results of scientific importance. The previous expeditions discovered new varieties of invertebrates and estimated their commercial reserves, created a reference collection of mosses and lichens, which represents part of Belarus' national legacy. Possibilities for mining natural resources in the area around the Belarusian Antarctic station were evaluated. A basic hardware complex has been created for experimental remote ground-based and satellite-based system for monitoring the atmosphere and the snow layer as well as a radiometry system, which is connected to the global radiometry system AERONET. “It is not a complete list of the achievements Belarusian scientists have secured during Belarusian Antarctic expeditions,” Sergei Chizhik said.
However, a lot has yet to be done during the forthcoming Antarctic expedition in order to make results of Antarctic studies significant for the entire country, Sergei Chizhik said. It is necessary to organize new studies of Antarctica's unique biological potential for detecting the most active ferments, which can be used to develop new kinds of medications for various applications. It is necessary to find and study unique geological objects and mineral resources.
In turn, Head of the 14th Belarusian Antarctic Expedition Aleksei Gaidashov said that the expedition covers a number of scientific areas. Apart from the six main areas of the research program every member has their own scientific assignments, he noted.
The expedition will leave Belarus on 19 November and fly to Cape Town. After a two-week quarantine they will be flown to the base in Antarctica. From December 2021 through May 2022 they will have to carry out scientific studies and do the main work to build the second startup complex of the Belarusian Antarctic station Gora Vechernyaya. The scientists are expected to return in late April – May 2022.Written by belta.by