Challenging research stations for Scientists and Researchers

From the winters of the arctic to orbiting space stations, scientists put their lives in tough situations to uncover the marvels of nature and contribute to the enhancement of scientific knowledge. Compiled below are some of the remote and extreme locations where scientists are devoting their lives to science.

Solitude Observatory of the Atacama Desert

La Silla Observatory located in the Atacama Desert, Chile away from the light pollution of the city has one of the darkest skies on Earth, an ideal condition for space observation. La Silla homes multiple telescopes including the Very Large Telescope (VLT), living quarters, workshop and storage area. It is one of the most productive telescopes on Earth capturing the world famous space images. All images are available for viewing on the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) website.

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Antarctic Research Stations

A total of 30 countries maintain their research stations at the Antarctic with some stations working round the year. The number of research personnel reach at peak during summer season and drop significantly during the winters as temperature plummet to -89C/-129F, recorded at Vostok research station.

Due to its remoteness, frozen wilderness, darkness, dryness and cleanliness of the air the Antarctic (South Pole) is a heaven for scientific research of a broad range of fields like air quality monitoring, environmental changes, astronomical and geological research.

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FLIP – Ocean Research Platform

FLIP is an ocean research platform designed as a non-propelled manned buoy for oceanographic research. The platform is 355 meters in horizontal floating position which flips 90 degrees into a vertical position to become a stable spar buoy with a draft of 300 feet. The FLIP ocean platform provides a stable platform for 11 researchers and 5 crew members to stay aboard for up to 30 days.

The platform is used for oceanographic research programs mainly being underwater acoustic research, also including geophysics, meteorology, physical oceanography, marine mammal research, non-acoustic ASW and laser propagation experiments. It has made numerous trips to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

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High Altitude Research Stations Jungfraujoch

This research station is situated in the Alp mountains at an altitude of 3000-3500 meters above sea level. It is equipped with astronomical observatory and research laboratories for scientists and researchers. This station also carried out research on the volcanic ash concentration from the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland which resulted in stalled air traffic in large regions of Europe.

The building includes four laboratories, a pavilion for cosmic ray research, a mechanical workshop, a library, a kitchen, a living room, ten bedrooms, a bathroom, and the living quarters of the custodians.

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Volcano Observatory of Hawaii and Montserrat

Volcano observatories of Hawaii (Pacific Ocean) and Montserrat (Caribbean) are located just a few miles from the active volcanoes. These observatories monitor seismic activity, volcanic gas chemistry, eruption activities, geophysical changes, SO2 emission and issue hazard level warnings.

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International Space Station (ISS)

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station undergo a complex process for preparing themselves for the space mission, before and after flights. Crew stationed at the ISS have to bear almost weightless environment and perform all their everyday activities including space walks, maintenance, personal hygiene, and research experiments in biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology etc. An expedition to ISS usually lasts about 180 days (=~4 months).

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Deep Submergence Vehicle – Alvin

DSV Alvin is a deep ocean manned submersible vehicle which allow 2 scientists and 1 pilot to dive deep into the ocean at 4,500m (14,800 ft) and maneuver for up to 9 hours. It has allowed scientific researchers to observe life forms living under super pressures and in total darkness. The vehicle has two robotic arms to collect samplings. It has successfully made 4400 dives since its commencement in 1964. It has been used to explore the wreckage of Titanic.

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