National Scientific Expedition to Antarctica participants from 14 projects completed 400 35-kilogram lichen and rock samples of 120 species, as well as samples of water, sediment, living microorganisms from seas and lakes, analysis of cosmic particles for atmospheric research, microparticle counting, insolation and albedometer measurements. As the fieldwork continued for 18 days with a team of 20 people, the team realized the work one person could do in 5 months in 18 days.
During their Jan. 22 trip, the 20-person science delegation traveled 36,000 kilometers in 20 helicopter operations, 100 hours of boat work, 18 days of field work and 46 days of expeditions. Additionally, 26 ship personnel supported the scientists on the 80 meter long vessel called Betanzos.
“It’s time to start working for the next time”
Hasan Hakan Yavaşoğlu, deputy expedition leader in charge of science, said that work started quickly from day one on Horseshoe Island, where the Turkish science camp is located, and said: “Samples of lakes, land and sea (cryoconite, zooplankton) in the field of life sciences in the northeast, southwest and northwest of the island. “Lichen, water, sediment, benthic and ostracod) were carried out. In addition, various studies were carried out for seawater filtration and DNA In the framework of earth sciences, different bedrock samples were taken according to the altitude.75 hours of GNSS measurements were carried out on geodynamic stations on the ground.
Stating that the domestically produced HAVELSAN GNSS equipment was successfully used and data from the GNSS stations installed on Horseshoe Island were taken, Yavaşoğlu continued as follows:
“Within the framework of physical sciences, different researches were carried out in the fields of oceanography, meteorology and astronomy. The data of the meteorological station were extracted from the previous year and updated. We are now on our way to our country to reap the fruits of scientific labor. It’s time to start working for the next expedition.
“All the countries here support each other, regardless of their foreign relations”
Captain Özgün Oktar, National Antarctic Scientific Expedition Deputy Leader in charge of Logistics, said that they have been carrying out successful logistics operations in remote geography for 6 years and said: “This year, despite pandemic conditions, all expedition crew and cargo reached Horseshoe Island safely. Although we have been running our own operations for 6 years, we have reached the level to support countries that have been working in Antarctica for many years by benefiting from the experience of other countries.
With a 7 day quarantine, a 7 day flight and time on the ship for over a month, we completed our trip with no issues. All countries in Antarctica, the continent of peace and science, support each other regardless of their foreign relations. We will continue to further develop cooperation with all Antarctic countries, as we do in our own geography,” he said.
“I am very happy that the Turks gave me the opportunity to help me in their expeditions”
Alejo Contreras, a 66-year-old Chilean guide who supported the Scientific Expedition team in field safety and maintenance-repair work on the White Continent, said: “It was an incredible experience to see a country setting foot for the first time in Antarctica. I am also very happy that they gave me the opportunity to help me with the expeditions of the Turks. This is something that can happen very rarely to anyone,” he said.
Contreras said: “The detailed planning of Turkish Antarctic expeditions is commendable. Because Antarctica is a difficult place to try or learn something for the first time. Turkey is taking firm steps in Antarctica by integrating it into every new shipment. I’m happy”. he said.
Noting that he hopes Antarctica will retain its current status in the future, Contreras said: “This continent, which is governed together through the Antarctic Treaty, will never be divided. Antarctica is a continent that is proof that all peoples can live in harmony. and friendliness. The only enemy here is the harsh weather conditions. Earth. “It is of course important that everyone on the island can see and visit this continent. However, I personally believe that Antarctica should only be used for science. This continent is the laboratory of the world and we must take care of this laboratory. We must protect all our living spaces, especially Antarctica.
On the way back, the scientists stopped at Dismal Island after leaving Horseshoe Island and completed their work there.
The crew then proceeded through Grandidier Channel, Penola Strait, Hovgaard Island, Lemarie Channel, Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait to reach Nansen Island. Scientists continued their work on Nansen Island, crossing Bransfield Strait and reaching Deception Island.
Due to the positive cases of Covid-19 on the Spanish-flagged ship, 2 Spanish scientists from the Gabriel De Castilla station on the island came to the ship with Turkish scientists and were left at the Spanish base Juan Carlos 1 on Livingston Island. The 7 Spanish scientists taken from here were transported to Uruguay’s Artigas Station and the Republic of Korea’s King Sejong Station on King George Island.
Visit of the Turkish scientific team to the scientific base in Bulgaria
There are nearly 100 scientific research bases belonging to 30 countries on the coldest, windiest and driest continent in the world.
Due to epidemic rules within the framework of Turkish scientific expeditions, no visits were made to foreign bases this year. However, within the framework of cooperation between the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute and the Polar Research Institute TUBITAK MAM, a participant in the 6th National Scientific Expedition to Antarctica and the St. Oleg Vassilev, who works as a station chief at the Kliment station Ohridski said the Bulgarian expedition team and scientists who have been working on the island for 3 months are also in isolation and invited the Turkish team to visit their base.
The Turkish scientific delegation visited the station on Livingston Island, toured the station’s campus and museum, and took a group photo before leaving the island. Returning to their ships with 10 Bulgarian researchers at the station, the Turkish Scientific Committee came to King George Island.
Gülcan Akoğuz, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Santiago, welcomed the scientific expedition team at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport in Santiago, Chile. Akoğuz chatted with the team for a while and got information about the expedition and the work done. Due to the epidemic measures, the social distancing meeting was supplemented with a souvenir photo taken with the team.
The Turkish Antarctic Scientific Expedition will provide flights of Bulgarian researchers and the Czech Antarctic Scientific Expedition Team to Punta Arenas, first to Punta Arenas, then to Santiago, Madrid and Istanbul. After completing its 46-day journeys, the team will return to Turkey landing at Istanbul Airport today evening.
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