Criosfera 1, the first Brazilian standalone module for atmospheric data collection, has arrived at its destination on the West Antarctic ice sheet.
The module which was prepared at the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais – INPE), went by truck to Punta Arenas, Chile, where it was loaded onto ALE's Ilyushin aircraft and flown to our camp at Union Glacier.
From there, the module was transported by ALE tractor train the final 255 nm (472 km) to its field location at 84°S 79°30'W. Marcelo Sampaio, INPE’s engineer and technical coordinator of Criosfera 1 Project accompanied the module on its overland journey. Sampaio will oversee a team of experts from INPE, State University of Rio de Janeiro and Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UERJ and UFRGS) who will live in Criosfera 1 from Dec. 21 to Jan. 13 and complete its installation.
"It is a pioneering achievement of Brazil’s institutions and a landmark for the Brazilian Antarctic Program. When we return from the expedition, automatic equipment of weather monitoring, measurement of carbon dioxide, also sampling of atmospheric particulates will remain operating throughout 2012. All these equipment and energy systems will be monitored by satellite communication,” said Sampaio.
Criosfera 1 will be the first module of its kind installed in the Antarctic interior to work 24 hours a day, without needing technicians monitoring its operations. The results obtained will be added to the research conducted at the Brazilian Antarctic Station Comandante Ferraz, based at latitude 62°S, on the edge of the continent. Along with other institutions in Brazil, INPE has been conducting research in the region for over 25 years. Their studies aim to know more about the atmosphere dynamics, the ozone layer, weather, global warming, greenhouse gases, ultraviolet radiation, the sun-atmosphere relation, the transport of pollution, oceanography and ocean-atmosphere interaction.
Along with INPE, UFRGS and UERJ, the UFF (Fluminense Federal University), FURG (Federal University of Rio Grande), UFV (Federal University of Viçosa), ON (National Observatory), and INACh (Chilean Antarctic Institute) are also involved in the Criosfera 1 Project.