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Editorial Science

Design Wanted For Antarctic Base 263

Posted by simoniker
from the babylon-5-comparisons-ahoy dept.
colonist writes "According to the BBC, The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have begun a major international competition to design a new scientific research station at Antarctica. The old station, Halley Research Station, was built in 1992 and its ice shelf will break off by 2010." According to the article: "The first four bases were built on the surface and gradually got covered with snow and ultimately got so deep they became crushed by the weight of ice and had to be replaced", though the "current base on stilts" fared better until the ice shelf problems.
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Design Wanted For Antarctic Base

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:08PM (#9563199)

    Kurt Russell and his crew had a pretty nice place in The Thing [imdb.com], why not copy that? Just make sure you don't dig up any... you know.. weird things.
    • by Stargoat (658863) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:16PM (#9563320) Journal
      Listen, lad. I built this research station up from nothing. When I started here, all there was an ice shelf. Other scientists said I was daft to build a research station on an iceshelf, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the water. So, I built a second one. That sank into the water. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the water, but the fourth one... stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad: the strongest research station in these here ice shelves.
    • Just make sure you don't dig up any... you know.. weird things.

      Funny--I don't remember them having to dig Wilford Brimley out of anything.

      They didn't dig up Kurt Russell either, for that matter.

    • Re:Been done... (Score:3, Informative)

      by WormholeFiend (674934)
      No worries.

      It's the Norwegians who dig weird things up.

      Just make sure you shoot and burn any strange dogs that come your way.
  • Igloos. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:09PM (#9563212)
    That way, you would not have to transport any building materials except maybe shovels and saws.
    • Re:Igloos. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:20PM (#9563367) Journal
      Still have the same problem of getting covered in snow and crushed. My first thought was "why not build it into the ground or completely underground" but then i remembered how freakin' impossible it'd be for them to dig a giant anything out of frozen soil. So an igloo is probably a better idea, but on the scale they need to make it, i seriously doubt it'll have enough structural strength.
      • I dunno, the method they used in recovering parts from the Lost Squadron worked pretty well. It was an almost whimsical looking device that was simply weights on top of a cone that had a heating wrapped around it.

        Of course, why dig? You'll get buried on your own; you just need to make sure that your station is strong enough to withstand the pressure to begin with.

        One could always do sort of an inverse on the lost squadron method. Wrap the base in heating coil, which is used from time to time along with
      • Re:Igloos. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TamMan2000 (578899) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:47PM (#9563641) Journal
        Still have the same problem of getting covered in snow and crushed.

        I don't think so... I think they would get covered in snow and get stronger. one of the beauties of a dome is that it can take huge loads provided that they are fairly uniform. Getting covered in snow is very uniform loading. Snow, when under enough presure turns in to ice. Ice is the material the igloo is made of. I am pretty sure that the igloo walls would just thicken with time.

        You would still have to worry about shifting ice causing asymetric loading of your dome.

        Also you couldn't make it one big igloo, it would have to an interconected network of smaller ones. The thickness of wall required to construct an unsuported span (dome in this case) is pretty damn non-linear, and it would not be practicle to build ice walls large enough to support big rooms, when you could just make 4 smaller ones, and get twice the space...
        • Re:Igloos. (Score:3, Informative)

          by stilwebm (129567)
          Getting covered in snow is very uniform loading.

          The article says winds reach 80mph (130km/h). I'm not sure it would be uniform loading, though a dome would still have an advantage if the stresses are uneven.
        • The BBC article says that the researchers don't want to have to descend vertcally like troglodytes into their shelter, it's not psychologically beneficial. So any design that allows for the accumulation and deepening of the surface cover won't be acceptable. -Gary
          • The BBC article says that the researchers don't want to have to descend vertcally like troglodytes into their shelter, it's not psychologically beneficial. So any design that allows for the accumulation and deepening of the surface cover won't be acceptable. -Gary

            Blimps. They need blimps. Then, they can vertically accend to their shelter. As a side benefit it would be mobile so they wouldn't have to study the same patch of ice.
            • Re:Igloos. (Score:3, Interesting)

              by dgatwood (11270)
              Tractors. They need tractors. Not the kind of tractors that you use to plough a field. The kind of tractors that carry the space shuttle stack out to the launch pad. For any reasonably-sized shelter structure, it should only take one.

              You have tank treads to move the thing, so if the ice shelf is breaking off, you can crawl farther inland. Better, when snow builds up on top, you can move around a bit and shake it off... or just use a heater on the outside of a dome.

              Alternately, you could just add ta

        • Re:Igloos. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gl4ss (559668)
          so if a building made of some strong materials can't take it then an igloo would???

          digging a base into the ice is a good idea but it's not a good long term solution i'm afraid(the ice 'lives', is on the move and so on..).

        • Re:Igloos. (Score:5, Informative)

          by FlyingOrca (747207) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @06:10PM (#9565331) Journal
          Igloos are made of snow, actually. You just have to find the right snow: a drift at least 60 cm deep and very hard packed by the wind. Then you cut blocks with a snowknife (a saw works surprisingly well, too). And yeah, I've built plenty of 'em.

          You're right in saying you can't build them too big, though; I'd guess about 3 metres at the peak would be a practical limit. They're good for storage, and surprisingly warm and comfortable if the cracks are stuffed with snow.

          Back to the base - I think the stilts idea is a good one. I'd modify it though, so the stilts terminate in some kind of long, chain-driven, very deeply threaded screws (almost like an ice auger if you're ever seen one). Snow piling up and compacting into ice? Use a very slow gear to back the screws out a metre or two.

          In the arctic, OTOH, we used plain old pre-fab panels (plywood sandwich with 10 cm of foam insulation in between) on beams. The beams in turn were laid on a really simple foundation: cardboard boxes placed over exposed bedrock and filled with more foam. Once the foam hardens it stays in place, and you saw all the tops to the same level.

          We got snow up to the roof pretty reliably every winter, but it melted in the summer. I guess they can't count on that down south, though. Cheers!
        • Re:Igloos. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ziggy_zero (462010)
          Geodesic domes anyone?

          The US Military (I forget what branch) want to test RADAR back in the day and they were looking for ways to protect their dishes from the Arctic snow and heavy winds.

          Bucky Fuller gave them the geodesic dome idea and they tested it out and worked great. Snow merely rolled off of it, and of course geodesic domes are so structurally sound that they couldn't even break it when they stress-tested it.
    • Re:Igloos. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sepper (524857) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:21PM (#9563377) Journal
      Yeah, but if you do that, you will have to answer on my Canadian patent on 'Building constructed out of carefully selected blocks of frozen material'

      Serioulsy, I have high hopes for a Canadian or Russian design...
      • Wouldn't most solid matter technically be frozen-- just having a higher freezing point than water? I'm sure there's a few odd solid-like things that aren't technically frozen for one reason or another, but I'm gonna play slashbot and scream "overreaching patent" at you.
    • Why not make it with [fact-index.com] as it has the best characteristics of concrete and ice, the materials would be readily abundant (sea water) and, in an arctic environment, would never melt. They could build new pykrete domes whenever they needed more space. They would just have to take wood pulp (sawdust) and sprayers and it can be formed/sprayed into final form.

      More links:
      [combinedops.com]
      [geocities.com]
    • Re:Igloos. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rei (128717)
      Not permanent. We need some serious work in permanent ice bases. I mean, seriously, while most of the Slashdot crowd is really into going to Mars, it doesn't cost tens of billions of dollars per person to go to Antartica, a whole friggin continent that has been almost unexplored.

      I wish Greenpeace and related organiztions would lay off the idea of turning all of Antarctica into a big protected park. Why turn something into a big protected park when there is essentially nothing there? I mean, I could und
      • Re:Igloos. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @05:04PM (#9564642)
        Why turn something into a big protected park when there is essentially nothing there?

        Because it's the only example of completely desolate continent we have on this planet.

        Why not declare, say, the congo to be a big protected park, and shift mining operations to antarctica, if you really care about the environment?

        Because it costs more than ten times as much to run equipment in such an environment, not to mention the wages that would be demanded by the laborers. How much would you be willing to work for in Antarctica? I doubt it would be a minimum wage.

        Even waste spills are less damaging, as you have hundreds of thousands of years to clean them up before they pollute the world's water supply

        All the more reason to avoid doing it. Pollutants would be trapped by the currents encircling the continent, and build up at a rapid pace. Sure, they wouldn't mingle much with the rest of the ocean, but you'd be turning the Antarctic coastline into a toxic sludge dump. As you yourself mentioned, the coastline is a breeding ground for extremely diverse marine life. The last thing you want is a buildup of pollutants in that zone.

        • > Because it's the only example of completely desolate continent we have on this planet

          And we have tons of desolation outside this planet, and several other desolate areas on the planet that simply aren't "continents". Your point?

          > Because it costs more than ten times as much to run equipment in such an environment

          And thousands of times more on Mars. But we're still trying to settle it, aren't we?

          > Pollutants would be trapped by the currents

          I already said the coastlines should be protected.
      • Re:Igloos. (Score:3, Funny)

        by KjetilK (186133)

        Why not declare, say, the congo to be a big protected park, and shift mining operations to antarctica, if you really care about the environment?

        In principle a good idea, but the problem is that people are living in Congo, and they need to make a living too... True, you could just ship them off to Antarctica, all of them, but I think they would object.... It is a whole lot colder in Antarctica than Congo... :-)

        So, I think it is still better to try to preserve something that is as of yet unexploited.

  • Imperial Walkers (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The should build the base on imperal walkers like in that Zahn? book. It could just move around as needed.
  • Prototype (Score:5, Funny)

    by boomgopher (627124) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:11PM (#9563236) Journal
    Here you go, hot off the presses:
    Polar Base Prototype [lugnet.com]

  • by Eberlin (570874) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:12PM (#9563253) Homepage
    They need a new design because currently, All Your Base Are Belong To Ice.
    • In AD 2010, Ice was breaking

      BOOM!!

      Captain: What happen ?
      Mechanic: Somebody set up us the ice.
      Operator: We get signal.
      Captain: What !
      Operator: Main screen turn on.
      Captain: It's You !!
      Penguins: How are you gentlemen !!
      Penguins: All your base are belong to ice.
      Penguins: You are on the way to destruction.
      Captain: What you say !!
      Penguins: You have no chance to survive make your time.
      Penguins: HA HA HA HA ....
      Captain: Take off every 'BSD' !!
      Captain: You know what you doing.
      Captain: Move 'BSD'.
      Captain: For great
  • by emurphy42 (631808) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:12PM (#9563257) Homepage
    The first four bases were built on the surface and gradually got covered with snow and ultimately got so deep they became crushed by the weight of ice and had to be replaced
    When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, lad, the strongest castle in all of England!
    • Great idea, but with a little bit of effort...

      When I first came here, this was all snow. Everyone said I was daft to build a base in the snow, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the snow. So I built a second one. That sank into the snow. So I built a third. That got covered over, caved in, then sank into the snow. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, lad, the strongest base in all of Antarctica!

  • Easy one (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:13PM (#9563267)
    They can build them above the ground again, only this time use steel beams and concrete, as opposed to cardboard.
    Don't get me wrong, good ol' corrugated is a fine building material for forts and tree houses, but for a scientific station that is supposed to get covered with ice, one should invest into some steel.

    That's my two cents, anyway...

  • by JayBees (124568) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:13PM (#9563270)
    One of the bases disappeared mysteriously after the Vorlons needed it to fight the Shadows in the last Great War.
  • by twitter (104583) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:14PM (#9563281) Homepage Journal
    Everyone stand close together and keep your eggs on your feet. Note, only male scientist who weigh at least 90 pounds and have a pot belly may participate. The design is limited to 9 week stay time, but requires no resupply. brrrrr [kidzone.ws]

  • ... a bunch of AT-AT's storming the rebel base on Hoth?
  • A question... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lxt (724570)
    ...I read the BBC article (unusual for here...), but it didn't seem to say whether or not the designers of the 1992 base knew the shelf would eventually break off...will this new base be designed to be easily expendable?
  • "The first four bases were built on the surface and gradually got covered with snow and ultimately got so deep they became crushed by the weight of ice and had to be replaced",

    Nice try, but a truer Babylon 5 comparison would be to havethe first *three* bases covered in snow, and the fourth base disappear after 24 hours of being operational......
  • Cheaper alternative (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aoasus (786460)
    As long as the current base is operative, could the thing just be towed a few miles or however far the thing has to go? Of course it might actually be worthwile to ditch the old one & start new, but why give up on a perfectly good building?
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:15PM (#9563300)
    They could build a base to resist the weight of accumulated snow and ice, and just expand the passageways as the base further gets buried... until they have to move to another ice-shelf.
  • by uberfruk (745030) <uberfruk@yahoo.com> on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:15PM (#9563306) Homepage
    FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:

    The base must be terrorist proof, with extra security, metal detectors, and the ability to survive a impact from an airliner.
    • Re:Terrorist proof (Score:4, Interesting)

      by agentZ (210674) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:41PM (#9563583)
      Don't laugh too hard. The weather down there can play hell with aircraft, and safety is a huge concern while flying. Granted, the odds of hitting the building versus the vast expanses of uninhabited ice or water are slim, but I wouldn't want to be out of house and home when it's minus sixty below!
  • Here... free... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nametaken (610866) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:16PM (#9563312)
    1) Put in the water, on pylons. Concrete ice-breaker pylons like they use on bridges.

    or maybe..

    2) Don't fight the mounting ice. Use a modular, extendable lift system, and build down into the ice. Much like the ice caves they build into glaciers, but with structural reinforcement and climate control + serious bilge pumps. Your computers will love it down there.
    • 1) Put in the water, on pylons. Concrete ice-breaker pylons like they use on bridges.

      The trouble is that the ice on the water is constantly shifting from the currents under the water. Over time, this exerts staggering amounts of pressure on fixed objects. Ice-breaking pylons would need to be sturdy enough to withstand thousands of tons of shearing forces from a variety of angles--a pretty tall order.

      2) Don't fight the mounting ice. Use a modular, extendable lift system, and build down into the ice. Mu

      • The trouble is that the ice on the water is constantly shifting from the currents under the water. Over time, this exerts staggering amounts of pressure on fixed objects. Ice-breaking pylons would need to be sturdy enough to withstand thousands of tons of shearing forces from a variety of angles--a pretty tall order.

        Yeah... they actually did this somewhere where they have lots of floating ice, for a huge bridge. I wish I could remember where, for sure. Anyway, they did a history channel special about h
    • Re:Here... free... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by raider_red (156642)
      1) Put in the water, on pylons. Concrete ice-breaker pylons like they use on bridges.

      or maybe..

      2) Don't fight the mounting ice. Use a modular, extendable lift system, and build down into the ice. Much like the ice caves they build into glaciers, but with structural reinforcement and climate control + serious bilge pumps. Your computers will love it down there.


      Why not equip it with a system where it can periodically lift itself out of the ice, and move to another location. Heck, just put a crane down t
    • Hoth anyone?
  • It may already be copyrighted, however I don't think it will apply in non-governmental areas of the world.

    http://www.yojoe.com/action/other/extreme/unprod uc ed/icestationzero.shtml

  • They'd better wait until 2008 before going any further, the good old one under ice and snow may come back to the surface thanks to global warming.

    Is there such a hurry to put more wastes in this area of the world?

  • Try building it out of the native turtle shells!
  • Obvious.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dustinbarbour (721795) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:22PM (#9563382) Homepage
    How about a research station with a heated roof to melt the snow and such? I would have thougth that was obvious.
    • re: obvious... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ed.han (444783)
      that's so obvious i'm positive there are reasons why that isn't feasible although it seems no physicists or meteorologists have weighed in yet. as possibilities i'll advance:

      1) you can't melt the stuff fast enough for it to flow off.
      2) even if you could, you need to shunt it someplace, in heated pipes or other methods, to deposit the mess someplace where it won't accumulate and create the situation you're trying to avoid.
      3) daunting power requirements to heat the exterior of any structure of adequate s
    • Or a really steep roof, or spire. Also, why build it on an ice-floe - why not build it over frozen land?

    • Re:Obvious.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pigpilot (733494)

      The reason why this won't work is rather obvious too.

      The average snowfall at the site is around 150cm per year, nearly all of which settles. This means even if you stopped the snow settling on the roof the surrounding area would be 150cm higher each year. Very soon your base will find itself at the bottom of a deep hole.

  • Submarine style? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Barumpus (145412) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:24PM (#9563398)
    With out knowing the physical limitations or the like from the average submarine, why not use something of this style. The deepest diving subs can tolerate pressures on the hull far that of the average structure on land. Could something of this general style sustain the pressures exerted by a large amount of snow piled on top of it? Plus it would have the added benefit of being able to handle the under water conditions after the next ledge breaks off sending the base into the cold seas.
  • by Grand (152636) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:26PM (#9563423)
    maybe then need to invest in some shovels.
  • by saddino (183491) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @03:31PM (#9563470)
    This [starwars.jp] should last them for a while, at least until the base is discovered.
  • Someone tell the guys at Google it isn't funny anymore!


  • Call Jesse James. He could do a Monster Garage show on this.

    They need help. The ice is overwhelming, and they don't know what to do. Frankly, I would put up a building that can be moved inland every year. Put stilts on it that can be raised up.

  • ..Just ask superman to chuck a crystal over there.

    The rest just comes naturally.

    Fortress of Solitude INDEED.
  • I spent 2 years doing research in Alert, Nunavut (Canada) -- this is the furthest north there is any human settlement in the world. When I was there it was unusually cold, and I mean COLD! The average temps in the daytime were about -50 to -70 F and at night it would get even colder. Most of the time we would just get sent convicts who would need to serve a portion of their sentence constantly sholving/plowing through the winter (it is a US/Canada weather station and military outpost) I don't know if th
  • Hmm, if ice accumulation is the problem then there are a couple of things they could do. One build a strong structure well anchored in the ground. Two, build the outer cover out of something that the snow and ice would have trouble sticking to.

    If the snow can stick, then the problem of accumulation is reduced without the use of more expensive measures. The surface could either consist of some kind of composite or a structural arrangement that makes it hard for snow to accumulate. In particular, I think the
  • but not many Informative.

    And I suppose that's not surprising given where this is posted. We do, afterall, know everything about everything. :/

  • "The first four bases were built on the surface and gradually got covered with snow and ultimately got so deep they became crushed by the weight of ice and had to be replaced"

    They went all the way to the South Pole and nobody thought to bring a snow shovel? Shovel you nerdy bastards and your home won't be crushed by snow!

    Ian: "Ay, Nigel. That snow onna roof's getting a might thick, eh? Maybe we should shove it or sumfing?"

    Nigel: "Ian old mate, I didn't go to university for 15 years to shovel sn
    • by tehdaemon (753808) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @04:19PM (#9564039)
      And eventually have to throw the snow over the 50+ foot snow banks that surround the base. You also need the base to be able to move, or jack the base up and pile the snow under it.

      The catch here is that the 'ground' is constantly rising because the snow never melts. Simply removing the snow will result in the base being in a big pit. Oh, and it does nothing for the ice breaking part.

      (Hmmm, then nix the pile the snow under it part, the base has to move somehow...)

      note: this post is directed at the dozens of 'shovel the snow' posts, not just yours.

  • Big Dead Place (Score:2, Interesting)

    by olivermoffat (211767)
    For more reading about living and working in Antartica, see Big Dead Place [bigdeadplace.com]
    • For more reading about living and working in Antartica...
      ...also take a look at my site. I spent a winter and 3 summers at Dumont d'Urville [gdargaud.net], probably the windiest place on Earth; and 2 summer campaigns at the new continental station of Dome C [gdargaud.net].
      And right now I'm pondering whether or not to sign up for the 1st winterover down there. Temperature below -80C guaranteed...
  • I'm betting that if you could find a way to spray and cure the concrete in the extreme cold you could use something like these... [monolithicdome.com]

    From what I understand they have a more than strong enough structure and could easily insulate well enough. Just my $.02 worth.
  • I believe water is at its densest|heaviest at 4C, which is 39.2F. Considering Antarctica's environment, that's not likely to occur.

    Hasn't anyone suggested a Bucky Dome yet? I'm surprised. (actually, I'm shocked).
  • When the ice shelf breaks off, we'll have bigger problems [nsidc.org] than a new Antarctic base. Like Manhattan transformed into a 3rd Millennium Venice.
  • ever heard of a plow? Build it with some crazy sloping roof so the snow slides off and someone scoops it up with a bulldozer...damn
  • by Marsala (4168) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @04:19PM (#9564040) Homepage

    investing in the research and development of Transformer technology is so important.

    You wouldn't have to worry about this sort of stuff if you had something like Metroplex. You could just tell the city to switch to robot mode and move to a safer location.

    And you'd also have a line of defense against Trypticon, to boot. It's a win-win.

  • How about a ball wthin a ball? Kind of like a hamaster ball within a hamster ball. You could roll it slowly to a new location, with the inner ball always staying level to the horizon.

    Secondary idea: Build the whole thing on big tank tracks. It ould aslo be moved slowy when needed.
  • by rlp (11898)
    Saw the article and picture of the current base. It's up on four stilts embedded in the ice. It also says it needs to be removed and carted away (before it ends up in the sea) to keep the environment 'pristine'. Sooooo ... why not disassemble the current base and re-assemble it further 'in-land'. Certainly would save the expense of carting in new building materials. What am I missing?
  • Seems pretty obvious to me... but then, all of my great ideas do. Unfortunately, so do all of my bad ones.

    Make the foundation of the base an inverted cone. That way, inward pressure will push the base up, out of the snow. Additional upward force can be generated with hydraulics, and heaters could be used to melt the ice off of the surface, and reduce friction that would prevent the rise of the base up out of the snow.
  • Submitted challenge to my in-house think tank and here is what they came up with: 1) 2,000 foot tall wooden skyscraper anchored into ice. Advantages: Tourist attraction as world's tallest building (added attraction that when viewed outside while standing on head, gives impression of being under world's largest popsicle). 2) Blue police callbox appearing structure that can be moved when necessary to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Advantages: Can be referred to by the highly memorable acronym,
  • MAKE IT FLOAT!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jeephistorian (746362)
    Whatever they do, maybe they should make float! Then they could just reuse it when it sinks!

    __________
  • by innerweb (721995) on Tuesday June 29, 2004 @06:08PM (#9565310)
    ...then why not use NASA's solution for the launch pads. Using a treaded vehicle to move it would allow the base to be recycled, or at least provide a platform to build a more solid structure that would then have a longer potential lifetime.

    As the snow built up around the base, you would simply drive the vehicle/base forward up and over the new snow/ice. Of course, there is the problem of the extreme cold and what it does to machinery of any kind, and how much weight could be handled under each tread (there would have to be enough space covered by the treads to distribute the weight enough to allow the treads to safely move the base.)

    But, a mobile base would allow for some interesting investments to be made in the research capabilities. It would also allow the base to eventually move further inland with much less effort/risk as compared to building a new base closer to the pole (since you would have your habitat right there with you ;-). IANAA(I am not an architect), but I can still dream.

    InnerWeb

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