by Matthew Harper. Media by Bobby Williams.
“It’s 100 degrees below zero, I’ve listened to the same CD 15 times in a row, and everyone else is asleep,” you say to yourself, looking out your window at the frozen wasteland around you. You’re bored and want to spice your daily routine up a bit, so you look in the mirror and proclaim, “I’m going to go sledding… with this base.”
This nonsensical story is now an actual possibility thanks to Antarctic researchers from the United Kingdom. The Halley VI Research Station, built by Hugh Broughton Architects, can be slid across the ice to avoid the destruction that shifting ice and heavy snow can bring. Looking at the name, Halley VI, you’ve probably figured out by now that the previous five stations did not have this intriguing ability.
Located on the Brunt Ice Shelf, the station is intended to gather climate information. The British have been building stations in the area since 1957, but this is the first to be so high-tech. According to BBC News, these stations, as of late, have also been used to monitor solar activity and the ways it impacts our little old planet.
“In the last station, not everyone had a window from their bedroom. Now everyone’s got a view. The acoustics are better, and there’re more opportunities to rest,” Hugh Broughton, the station’s designer, told BBC News. “But also the working conditions are much better and there’s a far greater array of different scientific experiments now possible at Halley VI compared to Halley V.”
The station is so interesting because of the way it’s built. It’s made up of eight separate, four-legged modules that are connected by walkways. These modules are sitting on what amount to stilts, which are about 13 feet long and fitted with skis. If and when the station needs to move, the walkways are disconnected and then take a little sledding trip to wherever they need to be. Since the Halley VI has been constructed and put into use, the Halley V station has been disassembled entirely and removed from the Brunt Ice Shelf.
These modules are brightly colored (red and blue, of course) and the center red module is emblazoned with the Union Jack. You can’t really blame the British researchers for that, though, because anyone who makes a science fiction concept a reality should be allowed to brag about it a little bit. Fox News even goes as far as to say the station looks like something out of the “Star Wars” franchise and it’s hard to disagree with them.
Not included in any story concerning the Halley VI station, sadly, is information regarding whether or not there’s a flamethrower somewhere in the station. As any Kurt Russell fan knows, the only thing that can fend off an alien menace in the Antarctic is a flamethrower and a good old-fashioned beard.