Aboa Research Station

Research station Aboa
Aboa research station. Photo: Pasi Ylirisku/ FINNARP

Aboa is located on Basen Nunatak at Vestfjella mountains (73⁰03'S, 13⁰25'W), Dronning Maud Land. The station is built on snow-free basalt and regolith about 130 km south of the edge of sea ice and 480 m above the sea level. The Swedish research station Wasa is located on the same nunatak, 200 meters from Aboa. Together the stations form the Nordenskiöld Base Camp. The nearest other stations are German Neumayer III and South African Sanae IV on an ice shelf at a distance of about 360 kilometers. 

Aboa was designed and built by the Laboratory of Structural Engineering at the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), and funded by the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry (now part of the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy). Aboa was originally built and equipped to be occupied all year round, however, the station has been in use during the Antarctic summer only. At that time of the year the conditions are most suitable for research activity, air temperature being approximately from 0 to minus 20 °C.

In 1988-89 the station consisted of a main building (120m2) with 10 beds, generator building, four storage containers and a vehicle storage hall. In the early 2000's, the size of the Finnish expeditions to Aboa had steadily grown and there was a need to renovate the station.  Aboa was enlarged and renovated during the austral summer 2002-2003. Two new accommodation and working space modules were installed, as well as new shower facility, laundry and a proper Finnish sauna. In the following year, the power system was enhanced with solar and wind energy system to allow more consistent year-round measurements and to lessen consumption of fossil fuels during an active summer season. 

During the austral summer 2014-2015 FINNARP started burning combustible waste in an incinerator, authorized by the Finnish Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. With a comprehensive waste management plan the amount of waste in Aboa has been reduced remarkably.  During austral summers of 2015-16 and 2016-17 an old helicopter shelter and an old tent hall were refurbished and recovered. Now, the renewed shelters are used as science workshop, storage and vehicle shelter. In 2016-17 additional research/accommodation modules and a new waste management container were added to the infrastructure of the station.

Today, Aboa comprises a main building (about 250 m2), four separate research and accommodation modules, medical surgery module, generator building, two arch shelters, food and spare parts storeroom, incinerator and waste container, gravity laboratory and climate research container with year-round synoptic weather station. Station can comfortably accommodate expeditions of up to 15-21 people.