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Gamburtsev Mountains: Research

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what (a) support and (b) funding the Government has provided for the probe of the Gamburtsev sub-glacial mountains. (232688)

The Antarctica Gamburtsev Province Project (AGAP) is a flagship International Polar Year (IPY) project and involves a research consortium of six nations, including the UK. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), a component research institute of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) which is funded through the Science and Research Budget, is playing a leading role in AGAP and providing the UK's contribution. The principal objective of the project is to undertake the first airborne geophysical survey of the Gamburtsev subglacial mountains in east Antarctica.

(a) During the 2008-09 season, BAS is providing a team of 10 scientists, engineers and support crew comprising 16 per cent. of the AGAP staff in Antarctica. Two of the BAS aircraft will also support the project, flying 450 aircraft hours.

(b) In addition, BAS has allocated £250,000 from its core budget to pay for flight testing, specialist equipment, field support and the post-survey data analysis over the next three years, so as to enable AGAP to go ahead.

BAS has also assisted with international technology transfer for AGAP and provided US science collaborators with the engineering expertise needed to develop the suite of airborne survey instrumentation being used on their aircraft.