The Oceanographic Research ship ‘Hespérides’ crosses the Antarctic Polar Circle.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

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The ship’s boatswain painting the hawsehole in bleu.
The ship’s boatswain painting the hawsehole in bleu.
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The ship’s boatswain painting the hawsehole in bleu.
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Sampling the penguin colony in Punta Hannah (Isle of Livingstone).

During the early morning of January 23, the oceanographic research ship ‘Hespérides’ crossed the Antarctic Circle (latitude 66º 33.75' S – longitude 068º 16.4' W), sailing through the waters of the Bellingshausen Sea in the course of her current 27th Antarctic Campaign. The Spanish Navy's oceanographic ship reedited the milestone also reached a little less than a year ago, commemorating it with the traditional painting of the hawsehole in blue color.

The ‘Hespérides’ is in the waters of Margarita Bay, on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, carrying out the scheduled sampling for the scientific research that is being conducted on board the ship, consisting of a multidisciplinary scientific campaign made up of four projects that are being carried out simultaneously.

The first of these, known as CHALLENGE, is led by the University of Barcelona and analyzes the human impact and the presence of invasive species in Antarctic benthic ecosystems. Another project is led by the National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC), with the collaboration of the University of Alcalá, and consists of an analysis of the evolution of the personality of Antarctic penguins, whose acronym is known as PERPANTAR. For its part, the University of Granada is leading the GOLETA project, which studies how variations in the thickness of the ice sheet can leave their mark on the Earth's mantle beneath the Antarctic, based on its electrical properties. Finally, the Spanish Navy’s Hydrographic Institute continues with the measurements of signal receptions emitted by the global positioning satellites of the Galileo constellation at extreme latitudes, a method equivalent to GPS, but of European design and financing.

The ‘Hespérides’ is integrated into the Maritime Action Force (FAM in its Spanish initials), which is responsible, with a comprehensive approach, to ensure permanent cooperation with the different Administration departments with responsibilities in the maritime domain; in other words, the contribution of the Spanish Navy to the State Action at Sea. This ship collaborates closely in the scientific management of its campaigns with the Ministry of Science and Innovation, through the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).


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