The "Molodyozhnaya" Soviet scientific station will mark the 40th anniversary of its opening on the Eastern Antarctica coast (Enderby Land) on January 14, 2003. For many years it was considered a "capital" of Soviet, and after 1991, Russian, polar explorers.
The station had more than 70 various structures, (including dwelling houses, research laboratories and pavilions, a powerful radio center, electric power station, the station for the rocket air sounding, warehouses, a heat base) situated on the ground free from ice in a small coastal Antarctic oasis on the Alasheyev Bay (the Sea of Cosmonauts).
The research conducted on the main base of Russian science in the sixth continent was wide and included ice prospecting and compiling maps of the ice situation, coastal snow-measuring and ice observations, meteorological monitoring and many other things.
Despite the fact that "Molodyozhnaya" was situated in comparatively soft climatic conditions (minimum temperature - 15 degrees below zero centigrade and maximum - 7 degrees above zero, as distinct from the "Vostok" station where a record-small temperature on the Earth surface was in July 21, 1983 - minus 89.2 degrees), not everybody can endure them. According to many participants in the expeditions "it is often difficult to stand on one's feet because of strong winds in winter. It was also established that even in such a temperature regime people should not live in Antarctica for more than five years because of the weakening of the immune system of the organism.
Many records and achievements are connected with the name of the station. On February 10, 1980 the Il-18D plane flew from Moscow to "Molodyozhnaya": The E. Bunchin and A.Denisov crews have overcome the distance of 16,000 km during 26 flight hours.
The 44th scientific expedition headed by Leonid Sergeyevich Alexeyev to the "Molodyozhnaya" station was the last: On July 9, 1999 the Russian flag on the station was lowered, after which the winter crew left the station on Akademik Fyodorov ship. The station itself was closed. As of the end of 2001, four Russian stations and two bases remained in Antarctica, while the USA had three stationary and 18 seasonal bases.
At the present time the "Progress" station is the "capital" of Russian polar explorers. But this does not solve a great number of problems connected with the study of the southern continent. The closing of "Molodyozhnaya" included, in particular, dismantling the equipment and its delivery to a new place, the storage of the dwelling houses and communication systems and the utilization (in compliance with the international Convention On Habitat Protection and a Protocol on Environmental Protection) of various types of rubbish and wastes.
Thus, one of the functioning Russian stations - "Bellinsghausen" - went over to the seasonal work; and only 100 people remain on the three stations for the winter period.
There exist a number of technical questions which hinder the research and other work, in particular, the replacement of obsolete equipment by the latest and ecologically-friendly one and the modernization and replenishment of the aviation pool (the Russian polar aviation consists mainly of light planes).
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