LKS in Antarctic mission

Local | Cindy Wan 23 Jan 2019

The Li Ka Shing Foundation has provided US$1 million (HK$7.78 million) in sponsorship for two unmanned vehicles now attempting to circumnavigate Antarctica for the first time.

Saildrone, a US-based company specializing in ocean and atmospheric data, sent the unmanned vehicles from Bluff, New Zealand, on a 270-day scientific voyage on Sunday.

The red "saildrones," likened to windsurfing boards, are seven meters in length and 2.5m high.

Powered by wind and solar technology, the vehicles are equipped with 16 scientific instruments to measure key atmospheric and oceanographic environmental variables such as wind speeds and radiation.

They will also take physical measurements, such as wave heights, currents and magnetic fields, and among other things fish populations and marine mammal acoustics will be monitored.

Along the way real-time data will be shared on the Saildrone website via satellite communications for students around the globe to learn about the diverse ecosystem of Antarctica.

They can also go online for lesson plans and mission updates from scientists.

Hong Kong students can also participate in the Saildrone Wing Design Contest or a video contest on how they feel about Antarctica.

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