British Antarctic Research Station can be raised and re-located

Halley VI Research Station is the first fully relocatable research station in the world. It was commissioned in 2006 and its unique and  innovative structure was the result of an international design  competition in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The state-of-the-art research facility is segmented  into eight modules, each sitting atop ski-fitted, hydraulic legs. These  can be individually raised to overcome snow accumulation and each module towed independently to a new location.

The station took four  years to build and delivered its first scientific data in 2012. Its iconic design houses a cutting-edge science platform and modern, comfortable accommodation.

The central red module contains the  communal areas for dining, relaxation etc., while the blue modules provide accommodation, laboratories, offices, generators, an observation  platform and many other facilities. Remote scientific equipment, set up for long-term monitoring, is housed in a number of cabooses around the  perimeter of the site, which also contains numerous aerials and arrays for studying atmospheric conditions and space weather.









Science at  Halley VI provides vital information for a global understanding of ozone depletion, polar atmospheric chemistry, sea-level rise and climate  change. Since it was first established in 1956, meteorological and  atmospheric data has been continually collected at Halley, providing an  unbroken record.

The station operates throughout the year with a  maximum population of 70 in the summer and an average of 16 over winter.  The Emperor penguin colony near Halley, which is present from May to  February, is a special attraction, while other recreational trips take members further inland towards the “hinge zone” where the floating ice  shelf is joined to the continent.






There  have been six Halley bases built so far. The first four were all buried  by snow accumulation and crushed until they were uninhabitable. Various construction methods were tried, from unprotected wooden huts to steel  tunnels. Halley V had the main buildings built on steel platforms that  were raised annually to keep them above the snow surface. However, as the station’s legs were fixed in the ice it could not be moved and its occupation became precarious, having flowed too far from the mainland to a position at risk of calving as in iceberg.









Summer team

halley6 summer team




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Aqueduct Veluwemeer in Netherlands

The Aqueduct Veluwemeer is a navigable aqueduct over the N302 road near Harderwijk, in eastern Netherlands. It is located under a small part of the lake Veluwemeer and at the same time connects the mainland Netherlands to Flevoland, which happens to be the largest artificial island in the world. The aqueduct, which was opened to traffic in 2002, is 25 meters long and 19 meters wide and has a water depth of 3 meters that allow small boats to pass through. Underneath, around 28 000 vehicles passes every day. Footpaths are built on either side of the aqueduct for public that wants to enjoy the view.

Chinese Scenic Spot Unveils World’s Scariest Super-Swing

Yunyang Longgang Scenic Spot in Chongqing, China, has become home to what is being referred to as the world’s scariest swing, which can catapult thrill-seekers over the edge of a nearly 700m-tall cliff, at speeds of up to 130km per hour.

The newly-unveiled super swing consists of a 100-meter-tall arch tower from which the swing’s metal cables are attached, and a 108-meter-tall launch tower which allows the swing to achieve mind-numbing speeds. With a swing diameter of up to 91.5 meters, the Yunyang Longgang Cliff Swing is said to offer a more thrilling experience than the famous Nevis Swing in Queenstown, New Zealand, or the Glenwood Canyon Cliff Swing in the United States. The new super-swing is currently undergoing additional safety inspections and is expected to open at the end of next month.

Photo: iChongqing

“To ensure the security of tourists, we used the structural steel of the world’s highest safety performance and applied advanced technologies such as seamless welding. It’s also anti-thunder and anti-electric and can withstand a magnitude 10 earthquakes and level 14 typhoons,” Li Pengfei, General Manager of Yunyang Tourism Development Co., Ltd, told iChongging, last year.


The arc of the swing reaches 90 degrees, 70 meters from the cliff under neat the seat. Up to three people can use the swing at a time; they will be strapped into the chair with safety harnesses, before being lifted into the air by a rope attached to the launch tower, from which they will be flung at blistering speed.

To experience the Yunyang Longgang Cliff Swing first-hand, you will have to travel to Chongqing and wait until June 30th, when the ride is expected to officially open.

I’d shit my pants just before my heart would blow out if I tried riding this thing.

Very Large Array

The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) is a centimeter-wavelength radio astronomy observatory located in central New Mexico on the Plains of San Agustin, between the towns of Magdalena and Datil, ~50 miles (80 km) west of Socorro. The VLA comprises twenty-eight 25-meter radio telescopes (27 of which are operational while one is always rotating through maintenance) deployed in a Y-shaped array and all the equipment, instrumentation, and computing power to function as an interferometer. Each of the massive telescopes is mounted on double parallel railroad tracks, so the radius and density of the array can be transformed to adjust the balance between its angular resolution and its surface brightness sensitivity. Astronomers using the VLA have made key observations of black holes and protoplanetary disks around young stars, discovered magnetic filaments and traced complex gas motions at the Milky Way’s center, probed the Universe’s cosmological parameters, and provided new knowledge about the physical mechanisms that produce radio emission.

The VLA stands at an elevation of 6970 ft (2124 m) above sea level. It is a component of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). The NRAO is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

The radio telescope comprises 27 independent antennas, each of which has a dish diameter of 25 meters (82 feet) and weighs 209 metric tons (230 Short tons). The antennas are distributed along the three arms of a track, shaped in a wye (or Y) -configuration, (each of which measures 21 km/13 miles long). Using the rail tracks that follow each of these arms—and that, at one point, intersect with U.S. Route 60 at a level crossing—and a specially designed lifting locomotive (“Hein’s Trein”), the antennas can be physically relocated to a number of prepared positions, allowing aperture synthesis interferometry with up to 351 independent baselines: in essence, the array acts as a single antenna with a variable diameter. The angular resolution that can be reached is between 0.2 and 0.04 arcseconds.

Antenna maintenance building

In 2011, a decade-long upgrade project resulted in the VLA expanding its technical capacities by factors of up to 8,000. The 1970s-era electronics were replaced with state-of-the-art equipment. To reflect this increased capacity, VLA officials asked for input from both the scientific community and the public in coming up with a new name for the array, and in January 2012 it was announced that the array would be renamed the “Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array”. On March 31, 2012, the VLA was officially renamed in a ceremony inside the Antenna Assembly Building.

Robotic Dog Patrols Singapore Park

Boston Dynamics’ four-legged robotic dog, Spot, has been deployed in the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore in an effort to assist visitors with maintaining safe distances from each other. The bot will patrol a 4-mile area of the park and send back ‘video analytics’ which can be used to estimate the number of park-goers. According to a statement, Spot’s cameras will not store anyone’s personal information or track specific individuals.

Only in China

Stairway to heaven: 300ft spiral staircase to give Chinese tourists a taste of the high life – as long as you don’t have a heart condition

Just looking at these stairs is enough to give anyone vertigo, but they are expected to attract thousands of tourists in China.

The 300ft spiral staircase has been installed on the wall of the Taihang Mountains in Linzhou to offer the thrill of mountaineering without the danger. But senior climbers beware – you have to be under 60 to be allowed on the staircase.






Chinese tourist officials in Linzhou,  Henan province, hope the stairs will give visitors a real experience of the mountain range.

‘Here the wind blows and batters them, the birds fly past them, the stairs creak. It is a lot more authentic than an elevator,’ explained one official.

However,for health and safety reasons, the stairs do not offer admission to just anyone.  All potential climbers have to sign a form  stating that they have no heart or lung problems and are under 60 years of age.



Amphibex fleet to hit the ice near Selkirk, Manitoba.

‘Once we start these units up today, we won’t shut them off until the end of March,’ says Darrell Kupchik

Ice breaking on the Red River is about to get underway in Selkirk Manitoba.

At the base of Netley Creek Monday morning, crews pieced together three Amphibex machines, which by the end of March, should leave a trail of broken ice 28 kilometres long.

“The mouth of Netley Creek is a really important area on the Red River. If ice jams up in this location, it backs into Petersfield,” said Darrell Kupchik, executive director of North Red waterway maintenance.

Ice breaking is starting around the same time as usual, he said, though noting that “the window of opportunity is very small in ice-breaking.”

In years past, crews who started a bit earlier saw parts of the Red re-freeze, Kupchik cited.

Crews pieced together three Amphibex machines on Monday near Selkirk Man. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The three Amphibex machines, which cost roughly $1.2 million each, were originally designed for clearing out the beds of bodies of water — an act called dredging. They were modified, however, to bear the brunt of ice breaking, Kupchik said.

“Once we start these units up today, we won’t shut them off until the end of March,” Kupchik said.

Once the work is done near Selkirk, the Amphibex machines will move about 120 kilometres north of Winnipeg to the Icelandic River near Riverton, Man., then Fisher River Cree Nation and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

The machines will be on stand-by in case ice jams occur in the spring, but once the flood risk is gone, they will undergo maintenance, Kupchik said.