As Chile strives to “establish a national presence in the depths of Antarctica,” the country is moving forward with the creation of a new scientific station in the heart of the white continent.
Planned to be constructed less than 9,00 miles from the south pole on the Union Glacier at the 79° South latitude, the polar outpost will house scientists from the National Antarctic Institute (INACH) as well as staff from all three branches of the Chilean armed forces.
Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Moreno, announced the latest plans last month at the Antarctic Policy Council meeting in Valparaíso. While discussing the project, he stressed that his country has always felt connected to Antarctica and continues to be a passionate supporter of scientific development and discovery there.
“We are a country that’s drawn to the antarctic, because of our history and our proximity,” Moreno said. “This means we are called upon to commit ourselves to maintain a constructive, participative, and effective presence at the heart of this international forum”.
The foreign minister added that Chile’s various Antarctic treaties and projects have helped to further both the country’s goals as well as those of the greater scientific community.
“[The agreements] have allowed us to preserve the white continent for peace and for science and to create an area of international cooperation unprecedented in the history of humanity,” Moreno said.
While experts will be making the most of the new polar base, it’s not only seasoned veterans of the sciences who have been involved in uncovering the mysteries of the Chilean Antarctic. In September two high school students were awarded the international Stockholm Water Prize for their important research into bacteria discovered in Antarctica that could be natural biological solutions to massive ecological disasters like oil spills.