Belarusian polar explorers have started scientific research in Antarctica, Head of the 12th Belarusian Antarctic Expedition (12th BAE) Aleksey Gaydashov reported to the NASB Presidium.
The expedition has already done some work following scientific programs. Thus, a weather station M-49M has been deployed in line with the scientific program on researching environmental changes and the climate in Enderby Land under the anthropogenic and natural factors. Weather reports and meteorological observations are regularly shared with foreign Antarctic stations as well as the Antarctic Logistics Center International (ALCI) in Cape Town to enable flights inside Antarctica. The expedition has also equipped the snow-measuring post and started to monitor the snow cover depth.
An automatic scanning sun photometer CIMEL (developed by the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus) has been installed as a part of the scientific program on researching atmosphere physics and for the sake of the national space program. The device has been set up and passed reference measurements: the device entered the mode of automatic registration of the specified parameters of atmospheric aerosol. An ozone layer measuring post has been deployed in the laboratory of atmospheric physics to measure ground-level ozone content regularly. The Pion-FN was installed and set up to record the total ozone content (the instrument is being used in automatic mode). Three series of measurements of reflection spectra of various types of underlying surface were carried out at the first testing area (rock outcrop in the area of the 12th BAE, Vechernaya Mountain), at the second testing area (ice of the Lake Nizhneye) and at the third testing area (snowfield) using the AS-A ground-based albedometer (developed by the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus). The SIMBA thermal sprinkler installed during the 11th BAE on the ice of the Lake Nizhneye has been dismantled for preventive maintenance and replacement of batteries as a part of the Belarusian-Finnish scientific program for studying the water and thermal balance of Antarctic freshwater reservoirs. The explorers also went to the shore ice of Lazurnaya Bay and caught samples of fish fauna (35 specimens) there.
The explorers also carried out a complex of works on further deployment of life support systems.
The 12th BAE's members are healthy. The Belarusian Antarctic station has the necessary stockpiles of fuel, food and medications. Instruments for scientific research, life support systems, means of transportation and communications are fully operational.
The national flag of the Republic of Belarus and the flag of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus were raised over the Belarusian Antarctic station in honor of the opening of the 12th Antarctic season.
A solemn ceremony to launch the 12th Belarusian Antarctic expedition took place in the National Academy of Sciences on 5 November. The 12th BAE team includes 10 participants. Cooperation in Antarctica has been expanded this season. Some explorers take part in the Bulgarian Antarctic expedition, the Turkish Antarctic expedition and the Russian Antarctic expedition. Each participant of the Belarusian Antarctic expedition has to take care of things as part of the main profession and allied ones. Polar explorers will not only build up the infrastructure of the first stage of the station but also to take a lot of samples of natural Antarctic materials and carry out a complex of scientific research.