Antarctic video gallery

Nuyina video

Nuyina video

Video transcript

The RSV Nuyina will be the most sophisticated science ship to ply the Southern Ocean.

Marine Science Support, Rick van den Enden “We are talking a 30 year advancement in research capability, a significant size increase and some of the most advanced science capability for a marine research platform.”

The icebreaker is currently under construction and due in its home port of Hobart in 2020

The search is now on for a hi-tech science team to support the hi-tech ship.

Rick van den Enden “We are after a very broad range of skill sets, everything from laboratory managers, through to precision machinists in an instrument workshop.”

There are 11 roles across 8 different areas;

· Acousticians

· Electronics and mechatronics design engineers

· Laboratory technical officer

· Marine science gear officers

· Mechanical engineers

· Science systems engineers

· Aquarium technician

· Data officers

Rick van den Enden “It’s everything from the routine monitoring, underway sampling instruments that we run on there to any novel science capability that someone has considered. So we have designed the ship to support everything we have envisaged, as well as that stuff we haven’t.”

The new recruits will also provide technical support for deep field science, including the search for an ice core dating back more than a million years.

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NASA space robot tested in Antarctica

NASA space robot tested in Antarctica

Video transcript

Could there be life on this icy moon 628 million kilometres from Earth?

NASA/JPL Scientist, Dr Kevin Hand, “We now have good evidence that oceans, oceans of liquid water exist beneath the icy crusts of moons of the outer solar system, these oceans are the prime places to search for life.”

NASA-JPL has built a robot that could one day help find alien life on Europa, one of Jupiter’s 63 moons.

It can float under the ice and move around taking photos and samples.

NASA Engineer, Dr Dan Berisford, “The key reason for having a wheeled rover versus a free-swimming traditional submersible, is that we are really interested in the ice-water interface. When ice freezes, it excludes all sorts of salts and minerals and impurities out of the ice. Right at the ice-water interface you get this enriched layer of chemistry and it’s very conducive to life.”

The robot has been tested in the Arctic and Alaska.

Now it’s headed to Antarctica for the first time.

NASA Engineer, Dr Andy Klesh, “There are many engineering and physics challenges that we have to overcome. How do we charge it, how do we run this thing for so long? These are all the challenges we have to work through, prior to us going out to Europa.”

Once on the moon it will need to drill through 10 kilometres of icy crust to reach the salty ocean.

NASA Engineer, Dr Andy Klesh, “As we descend down through the ice we have to leave these pucks along the way to bounce acoustically these signals all the way up to the surface. And then back to Earth, some many, many millions of kilometres away.”

It’s hoped the robot will be aboard a future NASA mission to Europa.

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Aurora Legacy

Aurora Legacy

Video transcript

GERRY O'DOHERTY — RSV AURORA AUSTRALIS MASTER: We're very fond of the old girl. It will be sad to see it go but it’s the end of an era and this is the last season of this contract for the ship. Look, it may come back to Antarctica in a different role, who knows. But certainly the role that this ship performs now will be superseded by the new ship Nuyina.

PAUL CLARKE — RSV NUYINA CAPTAIN: At this time next year it would be pretty amazing to be doing this same interview but standing somewhere on the Nuyina of course. It’s very exciting for the expeditioners and for everybody involved in the program because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a huge change.

DONNA WIGHTMAN — DAVIS STATION CHEF: One of the main reasons I signed up for the Davis station voyage in the winter was the new vessel coming along. Coming down on the AA [Aurora Australis] and then going back on the Nuyina is amazing. It definitely was a big decision maker for me and yeah hopefully it still happens!

GERRY O'DOHERTY — RSV AURORA AUSTRALIS MASTER: Oh absolutely, yes of course it would be great to see both ships operating side-by-side in whatever function the Aurora be useful for. It’s still a highly seaworthy and viable ship.

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Delivering the goods

Delivering the goods

Video transcript

Flt Lt Lucas Webb (Globemaster Captain): Today, we are taking our C-17 Globemaster and the Australian Antarctic Division cargo down to Wilkins Runway, which is just nearby Casey Station, for the first resupply mission of the summer season.

The flight time from Hobart to Wilkins Runway is about four and a half hours, and then once we get there, it’s actually quite different, to see the white continent, and then the runway is the same colour as the surrounding terrain.

We've got an instrument approach procedure that gets us down quite close to the ground, and then we can sort of pick it out. The guys do a very good job of marking it out for us, and making it that bit easier for us to see. The Globemaster lands on various surfaces, including ice, and so from a touchdown and control perspective, after landing, it’s actually fairly similar. But once we slow down, the taxi speed does start to feel a little more slippery than we're used to.

What we're carrying down to Wilkins Runway today is a lot of general cargo, but there are parts for machinery that they have been waiting for, over the winter period.

So the guys are really, you know, hanging out for that stuff.

There’s six missions the C-17 does throughout the summer season. They are highly sought after. Obviously, because of the remote nature, and the highlight it brings to your career. So, it’s definitely something that a lot of people are really keen to get on board.

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Eyes on the Ice

Eyes on the Ice

Video transcript

Our entire planet is affected by how Antarctic ice moves and changes.

Over 10 years NASA’s Operation IceBridge has flown the largest survey of Earth’s polar ice.

Now NASA and the Australian Antarctic Program are working together to map sea ice in East Antarctica.

Dr Petra Heil, sea ice physicist: “My work really looks at understanding the sea ice physics, and its real behaviour as it’s a component in the climate system, and the motivation is to understand what the sea ice has done and is doing now in order to forecast what its fate is in the future.”

For the first time from Hobart, NASA will fly over coastal ice in line with their orbiting satellite.

Petra Heil: “A lot of the satellite instruments we use are on satellites that are polar orbiting, and so if you imagine, they all kind of cross or need to travel around the pole, or near the pole; we get a convergence of their trajectories in the sea ice area and over the Antarctic.”

ICESat-2 carries a laser altimeter so accurate it measures ice changes in centimetres from 500km above.

On the ground, scientists near Casey research station will measure the density of the snow and ice.

Petra Heil: “On the ground, will move along the travel path of the plane, or the satellite, and they take every kilometre probably along a 10km transect very detailed analysis and measurements, take the ice core and send that back.”

The work on the ice is crucial to ‘ground truth’ what’s measured from air and space.

Petra Heil: “It’s exhausting, exhilarating, but it’s incredibly rewarding, and I think you have to be on the ground to really understand the physics in the system that you are working on.”

Production: Mark Horstman, Dan Broun. Vision: Simon Payne, Brett Wilks, Glenn Johnstone, Daleen Koch, Pete Curtis, NASA/GSFC Scientific Visualisation Studio.

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Barge baptism

Barge baptism

Video transcript

The workhorses of the Antarctic are getting wet for the first time.

Australian Antarctic Division, Maritime Systems Officer, Clive Evans; “It’s very exciting to see these designs that we’ve seen on paper, years ago, to actually finally be on the water and performing as we hoped they would do.”

The two aluminium barges are undergoing sea trials on the River Derwent.

Speed, propulsion, manoeuvrability and strength of the vessels are being tested.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “All up they can weigh close to 80 tonnes, fully loaded, and they’ll still do eight knots. So that’s a fair challenge for something that is only 16 metres long.”

The barges will work alongside Australia’s new icebreaker RSV Nuyina.

They will carry vehicles and cargo from ship to shore at Australia’s Antarctic stations.

The barges have been built in Hobart by a team of 12 over the past 18 months.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “We’ve got a team of naval architects here and we’ve got aluminium fabricators, we’ve got designers and engineers that have been in the shipping game for many years. There’s been a lot of input from a lot of parties.”

Down south they will have to withstand extreme conditions of minus 30 degrees Celsius and 50 knot winds.

Taylor Bros, Director, Phil Taylor; “I guess for the next 30 years, they’ll get flogged to death!”

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Ice on the Line

Ice on the Line

Video transcript

ICE ON THE LINE

Our extensive archive of ice cores is giving up new clues about past climate

Dr TAS VAN OMMEN, Australian Antarctic Division:

Line scanning is a really good example where new technologies come along and offer us the ability to derive new science from cores we might have drilled a decade or more ago.

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership at University of Tasmania:

An ice core line scanner is a giant piece of very expensive equipment that is basically a very big photocopier.

The scanner reveals thin bands in the ice that could indicate changes in snowfall

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership UTAS:

Most of the time people have assumed that accumulation in ice cores is relatively uniform throughout the year, but that’s as nonsensical as assuming that rain falls gently all of the time. It doesn’t, it doesn’t anywhere on the earth, so investigating how episodic that snowfall is really interesting because it gives you an understanding of how variable it can be as well.

Dr TAS VAN OMMEN, Australian Antarctic Division:

Drifting snow across the surface leaves a polished surface on the ice, and that can tell us something about periods where there hasn’t been snowfall or there have been excessive winds, and we can relate that then to the chemical signatures in the ice.

The key is finding similar bands that are common in ice cores across a large area

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership UTAS:

We have a scale along the side so we can date the ice cores, and then we know exactly what depth these lines are at in each ice core, so we can find the year that they’re in.

Written in the ice cores are clues to the future of the Antarctic ice sheet

DR TESSA VANCE, Antarctic Gateway Partnership UTAS:

In Antarctica, we get these episodes called ‘atmospheric rivers’ which are essentially rivers in the sky of huge amounts of precipitation coming from the sub-tropics down to Antarctica. Understanding how they vary through time is really important to understand how the surface mass balance of Antarctica can change over time.

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Cool Leaders video

Cool Leaders video

Video transcript

Ali Dean, Casey Station Leader

I've been working in the Antarctic for the last 20 years, first as a research scientist and more recently as a Station Leader. I first became fascinated with station leadership, as I transited through the stations, going out to work in the field. So, I saw them as these dynamic places that virtually make work in the Antarctic happen, so without them we wouldn’t be doing anything down there.

I see my most important role as an enabler. So not just for the science and the work programs, but for that real important community that you've got to develop when you're at a remote place. I consider that I’m really fortunate to be working in a job that I love, in a place that I love as well. Antarctica is unique, and I think everyone should experience it.

David Knoff, Davis Station Leader

Prior to joining the Antarctic Program I spent a few years in the Army as an officer there, as an infantry officer. And then followed that up with 10 years with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, working at embassies around the world.

Some of the skills I’ll bring to this role are a sense of adventure. I’ve been a traveller and come from a travelling family. I’ve also worked in a number of remote environments in Pakistan and Iraq and Turkey, and hopefully those experiences in those locations, away from home and away from family and friends, will help me while I’m in Antarctica as well.

Why I wanted to work with the Australian Antarctic Program was the uniqueness of the environment that we get to work in every day. The science, the remoteness of the location as well, is certainly something I’m interested in, and the people.

Certainly one of the biggest challenges over winter is being separated from your friends and family. One of the other challenges we face down in Antarctica is the fact that you live and work with the same people. Making sure that there’s a harmonious balance between work and recreation down there as well, will be one of the bigger challenges we’ve got.

Matt Williams, Mawson Station Leader

My backgrounds pretty varied. I come from senior leadership roles in Afghanistan, where I worked with NATO, the US, Australia, and multinational forces. I worked in Africa as the head of Australia’s aid program to Africa for many years as well, working on humanitarian and aid issues. And I've worked as a senior public servant on health and international health issues, keeping Australians safe from health emergencies.

As a leader I think you need to understand people, you need to understand the issues, and you need to be able to motivate people on a daily basis to tackle some of the most incredible challenges there are in a really difficult but incredibly beautiful environment.

Finn Taylor, Macquarie Island Station Leader

I’ve been doing operational leadership roles for a long time, where I’ve been leading teams through a lot of different scenarios; from emergency response to managing remote and alpine parks, working with regional communities.

Now is a really exciting time to be part of the Australian Antarctic division; there’s a real commitment to modernise and improve our operations so that we can deliver much more benefits for peace and science.

I think my leadership style is that I’m very collaborative and inclusive in the way that I work with people. I enjoy being creative and I think a bit of fun is really, really important. And that’s something that I’ll bring to the role.

The environment on Macquarie Island is extreme. We’re going to have a lot of extreme weather events with rain, hail, snow. It’ll be cold. But we’ll also have this opportunity to see amazing wildlife right on our doorstep. It’s more like we’re the zoo and the island is the natural environment. It’s very exciting.

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Icy Missions

Icy Missions

Video transcript

Dr Glenn Johnstone: We'll take the ROV out to 30 different sites, and we're going to see the different types of habitats in those bays. So, we'll see sediment habitats, soft habitats and hard habitats and then we're going to be looking at the communities of organisms that live on those rocks and in those habitats to see how they differ between those bays.

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