Back in February 1956, the first permanent domestic Antarctic station “Mirny” was built. Since then, for 67 years, the research base on the Southern continent of the planet has been used for regular observations of the state of the natural environment and climate, coastal waters and sea ice, the intensity of cosmic radiation, seismic fluctuations of the lithosphere, environmental parameters and biodiversity. During this period, scientists have collected a record amount of continuous data.
Station “Mirny” began operation on February 13, 1956. It got its name after the legendary sloop of the Russian South Polar Expedition of 1819-1821, which discovered Antarctica. The base is located on the southern shore of the Davis Sea on Queen Mary Land at an altitude of 35m above sea level.
For a long time, the station housed the heads of the Antarctic Expedition, who managed all existing Russian bases. It was here that the preparation of intra-continental trips on sleds and snow groomers for the logistical support of the station “Vostok” took place. In 1962, “Mirny” received the first intercontinental flight of transport aircraft from Moscow.
“From the moment of its foundation to the present, many different studies on meteorology, glaciology, seismology, coastal oceanology, the total content of ozone and small gas impurities are conducted year-round at the station ‘Mirny’. Satellite information on the state of sea ice is being received at the station. The equipment of the BIS-A space system is also being installed, which is necessary for the operation of the GLONASS system to support our country's space activities," said Aleksandr Makarov, director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.
An important task in the coming years is the construction of a new wintering complex at the station “Mirny”.
“At the moment, a temporary office and residential complex is being equipped, which for the period of construction will be used to accommodate the seasonal staff of the Russian Antarctic Expedition. But in a few years we expect to start a large-cale transformation of the station," Makarov added.
On November 15, the 68th Russian Antarctic Expedition set off from St. Petersburg. The polar explorers went to the shores of the Southern continent of the Earth on board the ship "Akademik Fedorov". They will conduct large-scale research at five Russian Antarctic stations and five seasonal field bases. One of the most important tasks will be the construction of a new wintering complex at the station “Vostok”.
AARI’s Russian Antarctic Expedition works continuously on the southern continent. Its participants are winterers and members of seasonal teams performing various tasks in the Antarctic summer. In Antarctica, the institute's employees constantly monitor changes in the natural environment at five year-round stations: “Novolazarevskaya”, “Bellingshausen”, “Mirny”, “Progress”, and “Vostok”. In the summer, work is also carried out at the seasonal field bases "Molodezhnaya", "Druzhnaya-4", "Oasis Bangera", "Russkaya", and "Leningradskaya".
The company “Zapsibgazprom” provides assembly of the new wintering complex of the station “Vostok”. It has been under construction since 2019. Leonid Mikhelson, chairman of the Management Board of “NOVATEK” PAO, presented the project at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society. The complex “Vostok” will consist of five modules: residential and public facilities for polar explorers, energy centers and technical units for water purification and storage systems, as well as a garage. All of them will stand on supports with a height of 3m, which will help to avoid snowdrifts for many years. The length of the complex is 140m, the total area of the facilities is about 2,000m². The project provides for a two-year supply of fuel and food.