"During the Ukrainian Antarctic expeditions, the number of winterers varied from 10 to 15 people, but in recent years 12 have been selected — five from the station's life support team and seven scientists. This time we decided to strengthen the scientific part of the team, so the 27th UAE will have 14 participants: 9 scientists, 3 in each field — geophysics, meteorology, biology, and traditionally a doctor, chef, diesel, mechanic, and system administrator," said a director of the National Academy of Sciences Yevhen Dukyy.
He noted that increasing the number of scientists will allow Ukraine to develop in Antarctica, which is now particularly relevant for the whole world. In recent years, research capabilities at the station have been significantly strengthened: the biological laboratory has been modernized, and a number of new devices for meteorological and geocosmic measurements have been installed. These new opportunities necessitated the expansion of the research group.
In addition, the decision to increase the composition of wintering has been influenced by climate change because now spring at Vernadsky begins earlier than the summer seasonal team of scientists can get there, so the burden on wintering biologists is growing significantly.
The 27th UAE will be headed by one of the most experienced Ukrainian polar explorers — Kyiv geophysicist Yuriy Otruba. He has already spent 6 winters at Vernadsky and, in the previous 25th UAE, conducted research and was also a bay commander, i.e., the expedition leader.
Also, among the 14 participants, 11 men and three women, two meteorologists, and one biologist. Since the National Academy of Sciences resumed the possibility of women's participation in annual expeditions in 2018 after a break of almost 20 years, this will be the most significant number of participants in the winter. Before that, two women worked in the 24th UAE, a scientist, and a doctor, and in the 25th and 26th, scientists in geophysics and biology, respectively.
It will be recalled that the Ukrainian Antarctic Science Station Academician Vernadsky was transferred to Ukraine by the United Kingdom in 1966 for £1.