Some 80 scientists from nine countries met November 13-15 in Punta Arenas in Chile for a symposium commemorating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of DLR’s German Antarctic Ground Station.
Since 1991 the German Antarctic Receiving Station GARS O‘Higgins has been operated by DLR’s German Remote Sensing Data Center. Its construction became necessary with the launch of the first European radar satellite in the early 1990s so that high-resolution remote sensing data on the Antarctic could be made available to scientists. In addition to the reception of earth observation data, the station is also used by DLR’s partner, the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG), to measure the tectonic displacement of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The station is located at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, adjacent to the Chilean military base General Bernado O’Higgins. Operation of the station at this extremely remote location would not be possible without the assistance of Chile’s navy, air force and army. DLR is also supported by the Instituto Antarctico Chileno (INACH), Chile’s Antarctic research institute.
At the symposium in Punta Arenas scientists from the fields of geodesy, geophysics, astronomy and earth system research presented their most significant findings and discussed the potential of the station and how it could be used in the future. At present, it is being operated year round by DLR primarily for the current TanDEM-X mission.
“Punta Arenas was always the gateway to the Antarctic, and our most important partners are located here. This event emphasizes the significance of our cooperation with Chile, which we hope to intensify. Besides polar research there is interest here in the areas of early warning of natural disasters and maritime services. In both Santiago de Chile and Punta Arenas we held pertinent discussions which are very promising,” reported Professor Stefan Dech, Director of the German Remote Sensing Data Center.