Brazil opens ‘spectacular’ Antarctic research base, but will it have the cash to fulfill its potential?
Source: Science Magazine
SÃO PAULO—Brazil will officially open its new scientific outpost in Antarctica this week, 8 years after a fire destroyed its original base there. The new, $ 100 million station is nearly twice the size of the old one and stands out for its sleek architectural design and hotel-style accommodations for up to 64 people, including scientists and military personnel. Seventeen laboratories will support research in a range of fields, from environmental microbiology to human physiology, paleontology, and climate change.
An inauguration ceremony is scheduled for 14 January, with Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão and several cabinet ministers in attendance.
“It’s a first-class facility, really spectacular in many ways,” says Wim Degrave, a molecular biologist and biotechnology specialist at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation who visited the station in November 2019. But many scientists worry that the Brazilian government—whose support for science has plummeted the past few years—may not make enough money available to use the facility to its full potential.