|On February 20th, 2009, the new German Antarctic research base Neumayer Station III was inaugurated. Neumayer Station III is the first research station to integrate research, operational and accommodation facilities in one building, situated on a platform above the snow surface, and connected to a garage in the snow. Within a protective casing, the platform accommodates 100 containers with living quarters, a kitchen, a mess, a hospital, various laboratories, workshops, a radio operator room, sanitary facilities, the power supply station and a snow-melting plant. The garage underneath the platform contains storage, waste and fuel containers, as well as space for vehicles, ranging from Pistenbullies to motor sleds to a rotary snowplough. A primary feature of the new station is the ability to compensate for adverse effects of snow and ice accumulation by means of hydraulic elevation of the building, without leaving parts of the construction to be swallowed by snow. This satisfies one of the major requirements of the environmental protection protocol. In addition, this construction design is the only technical solution to the complex challenges posed by drifting shelf ice with high accumulation rates of snow. The overall weight of 2,300 tonnes is distributed onto 16 foundation slabs. To compensate for the snow accumulation, the station will be raised at regular intervals by means of hydraulic jacks. Nine or at most ten people live and work at Neumayer Station during the Antarctic winter: a medical doctor who also acts as the head of the station, a meteorologist, an airchemist, two geophysicists, an engineer, an electrician, a radio operator/electronics engineer and a cook. Each team overwintering at the station stays there for 14 to 15 months. For nine months of that time, their only link to the outside world is by radio.
|This cache is the first one to be placed at a German research station in Antarctica. It was prepared by the 29th overwintering team. The cache is placed in the vicinity of the building. As the station was built on an ice shelf that moves towards the Weddell Sea at a rate of about 45cm per day, it is not possible to give precise coordinates, as they would soon be outdated. If you get a chance to visit Neumayer Station III, maybe as a scientist, technician, seasonal worker, tourist or overwinterer, all you have to do is look for a signpost that shows you the way to the sun. There may be other signposts around the station, but only one of them points high into the sky. Once you have found that landmark which is not too hard to spot unless there is a snow storm, examine it closely... Please do not forget to take a picture!