BAMOS - Vol 35 No.1 Autumn 2022 Autumn 2022 - Page 8

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BAMOS Autumn 2022

News

Both the station and ship teams worked tirelessly for a month hauling the cargo ashore .
“ Effectively , we ’ ve just delivered another station to Antarctica to support the search for a million year ice core ,” Mr Clark said .
Mawson ’ s moment
There were smiles all round as Mawson station received its first resupply in two years , after sea ice prevented the mission last season .
“ Mawson is always a challenge to resupply , it ’ s our most distant station at the end of the line and quite often the ice conditions around the station are incredibly challenging ,” Mr Clark said .
Happy Dragon glided into Horseshoe Harbour under blue skies , restocking the station , followed by chartered icebreaker , Aiviq , carrying fuel .
Expeditioners were picked up for a lift home , with both ships then sailing onto Davis to do the same jobs again .
Home renovations
Nuyina looks impressive at 160 metres long , but it was little more than an orange speck in the ocean alongside the magnificent Macquarie Island .
The ship answered the challenge , however , changing over expeditioners , topping up the station ’ s fuel tanks and sending supplies through the surf using amphibious vehicles .
An extra 350 tonnes of construction material and equipment now sits on the station ready for the Macquarie Island Modernisation Program .
Help from above
The AAP once again spread its wings with a successful aviation season , flying expeditioners to Wilkins Aerodrome from October to March .
Flying to Antarctica is a highly complex task , challenged by unpredictable weather .
An Airbus A319 was the workhorse of the season , with strong support from the Royal Australian Air Force with a C-17A Globemaster transporting cargo and people .
Ski-equipped Baslers and Twin Otters flew between stations on the continent .
“ These are capabilities we ’ ll build on in future years . We ’ re really excited about reintroducing medium lift helicopters into the program next season ,” Mr Clark said .
Keeping COVID out of Antarctica
The AAD ’ s Polar Medicine Unit successfully prevented the transmission of COVID to ships , planes and Antarctic stations .
This was done using a careful approach of pre-departure quarantine , vaccination and testing .
Adding to the challenge was the opening of Tasmania ’ s border to other states in the middle of the season .
Science on the ground
AAD Chief Scientist Prof Nicole Webster said COVID still constrained science projects over the summer months .
“ Regardless , we had a number of teams from multiple different universities and the Antarctic Division undertaking field work at Casey station and we also had some really great science wins from the commissioning of RSV Nuyina ,” Prof Webster said .
Field teams examined the health of Antarctic mosses , while shallow ice cores were extracted from Law Dome .
Australia ’ s Million Year Ice Core drill was also partially tested , following some challenges caused by weather and COVID .
Overall 49 science projects were undertaken , including soil remediation , and retrieving whale moorings , rocks near glaciers , and krill monitoring systems .
Peering into the depths
While Nuyina wasn ’ t tasked for icebreaking this season , it did break a few science news stories .
Among them was the mapping of an underwater canyon near the Vanderford Glacier , 2200 metres deep and at least 55 kilometres long .
A little-studied seamount , higher than Mount Kosciuszko , was also closely examined by the ship ’ s acoustics team en-route to Davis .
And for the first time , Nuyina ’ s unique wet well was used to collect Antarctic krill in perfect condition , allowing scientists to bring the keystone species safely back to Australia for future research .
Preparations are underway for science voyages next season .
“ We ’ re incredibly excited about our plans . The very first voyage Nuyina will do for science is into the marginal ice zone ,” Prof Webster said .
“ We have very little knowledge of all the biological and physical processes and how they interact in that marginal ice zone . So the discoveries there will be very exciting .”
On screens and in the galleries
Australians have always cared deeply about the frozen wilderness beyond our shores , and they have a chance to learn more through the media and arts visits AAD supported this season .
ABC reporter Henry Belot documented Nuyina ’ s maiden voyage in detail for print , radio and television .
White Spark Pictures joined the journey to Davis and Macquarie Island and are constructing a Virtual Reality tour of the ship .
Renowned artist Janet Laurence was also able to fill a lifetime ambition to see the continent , with her upcoming works examining the world that surrounds Casey .
2021 – 2022 season highlight video