Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Seeking innovative solutions for Antarctica navigation

Challenge seeks innovative solutions for navigation across Antarctica

28 March 2018

Antarctica New Zealand’s job is to get scientists where they need to be to conduct world-leading research from safe, remote platforms in challenging environments.

It’s no surprise the agency responsible for supporting science on the Ice has a keen eye on the outcome of the inaugural New Zealand Space Challenge, which seeks “innovative solutions to enable safer, more efficient navigation across Antarctica”.

The smarter and safer the navigation, the better.

“Our vision is for everyone to value, protect and understand Antarctica,” says Antarctica New Zealand General Manager Communications Megan Martin.

“As science becomes more complex in Antarctica, some of it is moving further afield into deep field environments – which means there are associated challenges with logistics to get scientists where they want to be.”

Antarctica New Zealand already knows the power of using space data for navigating uncharted lands, off the back of a successful deep-field traverse season into the heart of the Ross Ice Shelf and the Siple Coast.

The expedition, which was the largest Antarctic traverse New Zealand has led since the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic expedition in the 1950s, wouldn’t have been such a success without the team of “bright sparks” behind the journey, says Antarctica New Zealand General Manager Antarctic Operations Simon Trotter.

University of Canterbury glaciologist Dr Dan Price used German space technology to successfully plan the route – 1100 kilometres across the ice shelf, which he and three others travelled.

“The main safety concern was crevassing, so months were spent using satellites to plan a route that would avoid the worst areas,” Dr Price says.

“We were able to use the [satellite] imagery to work out exactly where we were in a completely featureless environment.”

The traverse was in support of science goals of a multidisciplinary science project attempting to understand how the Ross Ice Shelf dynamics will respond to a warming world, through the process of drilling through the surface to obtain information about the ice, ocean and sediment below.

Key information came from TerraSAR-X, a satellite mission operated by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), which takes something akin to an x-ray of the ice shelf and exposes crevasses hidden beneath the snow.

Dr Price says for previous ice shelf expeditions, focus was placed on visual imagery – essentially just photographs taken from space.

“This alternative technique, using radar images, exposes crevasses that would otherwise be missed. That removes a lot of uncertainty when you’re driving into these regions.”

Trotter says other National Antarctic Programmes have used similar navigation methods for some time; for example, the United States programme used space data to establish the now well-trodden route to the South Pole, but “we’re going into some new terrain that carries a higher degree of risk”.

Traverses are a good way to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel needed for aircraft, he says, but using space data provided by other countries is a “very expensive undertaking”.

“At the end of the day if the New Zealand Space Challenge enables us to be safer in our operations and to get to more remote areas, more easily and more affordably – and challenges the use of fossil fuels in a high-risk environment, then it will be worthwhile.”

Dr Price says Antarctica is an incredible place to test technology and resources that could eventually be used in space.

“Anything that comes out of this challenge could be highly beneficial to the logistical efforts in the Antarctic.”

Trotter says there’s always going to be a “human factor” required to carry out Antarctic research and exploration, “but as the cost of technology and data reduces, we’re going to be able to do so much more”.

The inaugural New Zealand Space Challenge offers $40,000 cash and commercialisation support to the best idea of how to improve the safety of navigation on Antarctic ice using satellite data and sensors operating in extreme environments.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Mining: OceanaGold Announces Receipt Of WKP Mining Permit

MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 6, 2020 /CNW/ - OceanaGold Corporation (TSX: OGC) (ASX: OGC) (the 'Company') is pleased to announce it has received the mining permit for Wharekirauponga ('WKP') on the North Island of New Zealand. ... More>>

ALSO:

Economy: COVID-19 Lockdown Has Widespread Effects On Labour Market

In the June 2020 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent, down from 4.2 percent last quarter, while underutilisation rose, Stats NZ said today. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Post: New Research By NZ Post Shows Online Shopping Grew 105% In Alert Level 3

New research by NZ Post into how the COVID-19 response has impacted the way Kiwis shop online, shows online shopping increased 105%* when the country moved into Alert Level 3, and may have changed the way Kiwis shop permanently. Online spend peaked ... More>>

ALSO:

Banking: Westpac NZ Lowers Merchant Fees For Small Businesses

Westpac NZ is rolling out a new merchant fee pricing structure that will lead to cost savings for more than 10,000 small and medium Kiwi businesses, and could make contactless transactions more widely available for customers. On 1 September, most ... More>>

REINZ: Million Dollar Plus Property Sales Increase 11.7% Nationally

The number of properties sold around the country for one million dollars or more during the first half (H1) of 2020 increased by 11.7% compared to H1 2019, with 5,426 million-dollar plus properties sold (up from 4,858 in H1 2019) according to the Real ... More>>

Waste: Government To Regulate Plastic Packaging, Tyres, E-Waste

The Government is stepping up action to deal with environmentally harmful products – including plastic packaging, tyres and e-waste – before they become waste. As part of the wider plan to reduce the amount of rubbish ending up in landfills, ... More>>

ALSO:


Antarctica NZ: Ice-Olation

Antarctica New Zealand is gearing up for a much reduced season on the ice this year and a very different deployment to normal! Before they head to one of the remotest places on the planet, all personnel flying south with the New Zealand programme will ... More>>

ALSO:

QV Valuations: July House Price Index Illustrates Market Resilience

According to the July 2020 QV House Price Index (HPI) results out today , property values recorded a marginal increase, up 0.2% over the month. This is somewhat of a turnaround from June, after the national index edged 0.2% lower. More>>

ALSO:

Property: Queenstown Rents Experience Biggest Drop In Seven Years

Rental prices in the Queenstown-Lakes district saw the biggest annual percentage drop in seven years after falling 28 per cent on June last year, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index. Trade Me Property spokesperson Aaron Clancy said ... More>>

Seismology: The Quiet Earth

As many daily activities came to a halt during lockdown, the Earth itself became quiet, probably quieter than it has been since humans developed the technology to listen in. Seismologists have analysed datasets from more than 300 international ... More>>

RNZ: James Shaw Says Kiwibank, Not Ministers Should Decide On Investors

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says Kiwibank's decision to stop doing business with companies dealing in fossil fuels is the right one. More>>

ALSO:

FMA: Kiwis Confident Financial Markets Will Recover From COVID-19, Plan To Increase Investments

Despite the majority (60%) of investors experiencing losses as a result of COVID-19, the outlook on investing remains positive, according to a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) survey. Most Kiwis (71%) were optimistic that the pandemic will pass eventually ... More>>

FIRST Union: Warehouse Using Covid For Cover As Extensive Restructure Makes Everyone Worse Off

(FIRST Union comments on The Warehouse consultation and proposed restructure) 'Unfortunately the Warehouse have done the disappointing thing and used Covid-19 to justify a bunch of operational business decisions that will leave hundreds of workers without jobs ... More>>

ALSO: