Monday, April 5, 2010

South Korea's first base in Antarctica

South Korea last week chose Terra Nova Bay as the site for its first research base on mainland Antarctica. A survey earlier this year by the country's first icebreaker research ship, Araon, found that the site was more accessible and had better weather than another option, Cape Burks. The 100-billion-won (US$88-million) base, to be completed by 2014, will be used to study global warming. The country has had another base on nearby King George Island since 1988.
Here is a really beautiful photo of South Korea's old base, King Sejong Station, from the Korea Times.

Let's hope South Korea keeps Antarctica looking this beautiful.  According to the article, South Korea is not oblivious to the economic angle:
 In 2003, a natural gas reservoir with a capacity that exceeds by 300-fold South Korea's annual consumption, was found in the Antarctic seas. Research into plankton in the Antarctic Ocean paved the way for world's first technology that allows blood to remain unchanged even when stored at low temperatures. A meteorite investigation team found meteorites both this and last year, endorsing South Korea's status as the world's fifth country to find meteorites. Researchers also cooperate with international teams to conduct yearlong research into the environment.
 Antarcticana wishes South Korea good luck on its new base.

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