KYIV, Ukraine, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The 16th Ukrainian Antarctic expedition heads the South Pole on March 18, 2011. For Ukrainian polar explorers, 2011 is an anniversary year, since 15 years ago the Ukrainian flag was hoisted in Antarctica. "Work of the 16th Antarctic expedition marks a new milestone in the sixth continent's exploration," underlined Volodymyr Semynozhenko, the head of the Committee on science, innovations and information of Ukraine during the set-off ceremony for the Ukrainian winterers on March 16, 2011.
"The main expedition task is scientific development of this unique natural laboratory, a rich glacial fount of mineral, water and biological resources," said Semynozhenko, stressing that for this task the government has approved the new State scientific and technical program on implementation of scientific investigation in Antarctica in 2011-2020.
Semynozhenko also outlined the topical prospective issues regarding the Antarctic scientific activities. Among those are advancement of the Ukrainian researchers deep into the Antarctic continent; enhancement and scientific modernization of Vernadskystation, Ukraine's first scientific base in Antarctica;construction of proper seasonal facilities on the continent and adoption of new modern research methods and technologies.
In 1992 Ukraine became a member of the Antarctic Treaty, signed by 48 countries. The treaty regulates international relations, scientific activity and administration in Antarctica. Since 2004 Ukraine has become a consultative party of the Antarctic Treaty System and participates in the decision-making.
The Antarctic station "Academic Vernadsky," the oldest research base operating in the area of Antarctic Peninsula, before 1996 was called "Faraday" and belonged to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The station complex located at the Galindez Island was transferred to the Ukrainian Antarctic Center (UAC) by the Great Britain on February 7, 1996, thus becoming the first Antarctic station of Ukraine. Ukrainian scientists work within the fields of upper atmosphere and ozone physics, meteorology, seismology, glaciology, geology and others.
SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine