site.btaNaval Academy Researchers Will Do Experiments in Field of Telecoms in Southern Ocean
During the 32nd Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition, researchers of the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy (NVNA) will do a series of experiments related to the use of various satellite systems, NVNA Rector, Flotilla Admiral Prof. Boyan Mednikarov, said in a BTA interview. They will participate in two major initiatives that follow up on last year's projects. In his words, the possibility of using various modifications of the Starlink system in the Southern Ocean, from the 60th parallel south to Antarctica, will be explored.
Naval Academy personnel are on board the Bulgarian naval research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii (RSV 421) that sailed off on its second Antarctic voyage to be part of the 32nd Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition.
The researchers will also study probiotics and their effect on the psychological state of the crew, Prof. Mednikarov explained.
Last year, the focus was on probiotics' effect on the physiology of the crew.
This year, research won't be limited to Livingston Island alone, where the Bulgarian base is located, and the scientists will look at the less-explored Smith Island, which is also part of the South Shetland Islands archipelago, Prof. Mednikarov said. Smith Island will be terra incognita for the Bulgarian team and the crew of RSV 421, as it is not fully mapped. They won't be the first to set foot on the island but will be disembarking in less familiar conditions.
The Naval Academy Rector emphasized that research activities on Smith Island will be another proof that owning a ship enables the Bulgarian polar explorers to expand the geographic scope of their research.
The essence of the research activities on board the Bulgarian naval research vessel Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii is synergy, interaction between the crew and the researchers who have won funding for their projects from the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute, Mednikarov said. This time, the projects of NVNA scientists are funded by the Naval Academy itself. "In other words, we are launching our own, somewhat of an independent Antarctic programme, and, of course, all [of its] research will be in the context and to the standards of the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute," Mednikarov stressed.
He also commented that NVNA is doing its best to make the RSV 421 as useful as possible to the Bulgarian polar explorers. According to the NVNA Rector, efforts are being made to increase the capacity of the ship to take samples from the bottoms of both the South Bay of Livingston Island and other islands in the expedition area.
There may be rotations in the NVNA team of scientists during the different stages of the 32nd Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition, Mednikarov said, adding that 24 NVNA cadets and three to four instructors will participate in RSV 421's second voyage to Antarctica, as during its first one. On the ship’s way back to Bulgaria, a cadet of the Polish Naval Academy may join the its crew, as well, he also noted.
Mednikarov said that Bulgarians are increasingly aware that Antarctica, and Livingston Island in particular, provide many opportunities for various scientific research and even for the possible extraction of mineral resources in the future. The Livingston Island is a part of an archipelago that is part of the Andes mountain range, which is extremely rich in minerals. Gold and stones with rich colours of copper oxides have been found on Livingston, Mednikarov said, adding that, according to geologists, these are ores whose metal concentration is much higher than most found in Europe.
RSV 421’s main mission during the 32nd Bulgarian Antarctic Expedition is to transport the construction of the new laboratory building for the Bulgarian base on Livingston Island, he also explained. "Our task is to transport the construction elements smoothly and, in parallel with it, to implement the scientific programme. I am optimistic about both. Moreover, last year we achieved quite a high degree of coordination with both the research and logistics teams. I am confident that all tasks will be completed in a high-quality and timely manner," Mednikarov said.
The Naval Academy Rector also stated that during its second voyage, the vessel will stop for the first time in the southernmost city on the planet - Ushuaia, located in Tierra del Fuego. On its way back to Bulgaria, RSV 421 is planned to visit the port city of Comodoro Rivadavia in Argentina. Mednikarov specified that many descendants of Bulgarian immigrants who worked on oil rigs live in Comodoro Rivadavia. "Today, those descendants have a very strong bond with each other and may not speak Bulgarian, but they respect our traditions, so the visit of the ship [to Comodoro Rivadavia] will be a gesture to them and all Bulgarians in Argentina," Mednikarov added.