The British Antarctic Survey have committed to making an amazing new ship, costing £200 million. This will be the next step in Britain’s continued exploration of the polar regions, allowing us cutting-edge research facilities to better explore the Antarctic and the seas, about which we still know so little.
Floating Laboratory to Explore Polar Regions
The new ship will be one of the biggest, most well-equipped Arctic research vessels of its kind. Its ice-breaking capabilities will make it ideally suited for work in frozen seas, and its strength in this area will allow British researchers to head further into frozen areas than they can in any of the current fleet of two.
The two current ships on the British Antarctic Survey’s fleet are the RRS James Clark Ross, built in 1990 and the RRS Ernest Shackleton, built in 1995. While both ships have provided long and distinguished service, there is a real need for an up-to-date vessel with all the capabilities that modern scientific technology can bestow. Of great need to the fleet is a helideck, which is essential to the effective performance of research in an area renowned for its unforgiving landscape.
Technology Fuels Scientific Breakthroughs
It’s amazing that such research can be done so quickly now, with modern technologies allowing for a whole range of laboratory equipment that might only once have been dreamed of. The new ship is planned to be filled with the best modern technology can offer, including robotic submarine vessels and flying ‘drones’ – something that would be hard to imagine only years ago. These will allow the BAS to investigate areas previously unreachable, or too risky and expensive to investigate with older technologies.
While we have two ships already a part of the expedition, these were built many years ago, and scientific technology has leaped ahead since their construction. As our production techniques continue to improve, it’s ever-easier to do less with more, and to rely on the quality of equipment – fewer backups, less bulk, and better precision allow laboratories to use their space more effectively. There is less need to fill up the space with clunky equipment, spares, and the like, so the space can be used to carry more varied technology – these are vital considerations for something like a mobile, ship-based lab, where space is always at a premium!
The skills we have now for making effective, lightweight, and inexpensive equipment are highly developed, and the budget of £200 million will surely allow for the most effective, forward-thinking technologies to be used.
The Brits are Leading The Way
While the laboratory aboard the ship has not yet been specified, it will definitely contain some of the quality lab equipment that we’ve made our name manufacturing and stocking. As we know firsthand, modern laboratory equipment can’t be beaten for its quality, its reliability, and its ability to open whole new routes of research. The quality and precision by which modern lab equipment is made allows for ever-more-refined knowledge, and the materials we have available to us now allow us to make equipment that is sturdier than ever before – something that’s essential on the high seas. It’s fair to say that such a ship, and the laboratory it will contain, would not have been possible decades ago!
The British Antarctic Survey is one of the world’s leading scientific institutions, and has been performing research and surveying the Antarctic region for over half a century. They provide essential research into the environmental science of the region, which can frequently provide insight into the environment of the globe as a whole. It was the British Antarctic survey who first discovered the hole in the ozone, in 1985.
The BAS, with its bases in the region, also provides an important presence for Britain – as many of the rich natural resources in Antarctica are coveted by various nations, it’s important to maintain a role in the region. Britain’s long history of exploration, adventure, and research in the Antarctic has become the stuff of legend, and our continued involvement, whether under the British flag, or in international research, is a really important part of our continued scientific and geopolitical aims.
Untapped Resources and Scientific Breakthroughs
Such work is clearly essential not just for Britain, but for the scientific community as a whole. The ramifications of many of the scientific discoveries made in Antarctica are important for our scientific understanding of the whole world.
We can’t wait to see what such a large project will uncover – equipped with the very best in modern, accurate scientific laboratory equipment, along with other great elements of technology, the British Antarctic Survey are sure to uncover a wealth of new data regarding one of the most majestic regions of earth.
We know the precision of modern equipment, combined with Britain’s commitment to leading-edge scientific research, will help the scientific community to remain at the forefront of the fast-changing environmental and geological knowledge being unveiled every day in the region!