Open-plan living, flexible lab spaces, waste minimisation and a "modular design" have been incorporated into plans for a major upgrade of Australia's southernmost Antarctic base.
Improvements to Davis Station, as well as Mawson Station and Casey Station, form part of a $450 million program over the next decade to enhance Australia's Antarctic infrastructure and research network.
Announced on Saturday, the master planning process for Davis - in East Antarctica's ice free Vestfold Hills area - prioritises open-plan interiors, improved scope for scientific inquiry and enhanced communications and sustainability.
The plan includes a "modular design" which would allow the 63-year-old station's facilities to be easily altered if required.
It also seeks to establish year-round aviation capacity near the station, which is central to atmospheric, marine and ice sheet research.
"The Australian Antarctic Division is engaging with Australia's Antarctic community to understand the challenges of living and working in a remote Antarctic environment," Environment Minister Sussan Ley said in a statement.
"We want to build a sustainable and resilient station that has flexibility to support future science and emerging technologies."
Some 33 Australian expeditioners in late October travelled south for the 2020/21 Antarctic summer, the first wave to head off this year.
With Antarctica still free of COVID-19, they were required to complete two weeks' of hotel quarantine in Hobart before travelling to Casey Station.
About 250 Australian researchers will travel to Antarctica over 2020/21.
Summer activities have been scaled back to focus on changing teams over and re-supplying stations, while no major construction will take place.
Science projects have been limited to data collection and wildlife monitoring.
Davis is primarily used as a base for studying viruses and bacteria in glacial lakes using molecular genetic techniques, as well as the impact of environmental change and pollution more generally on Antarctic marine ecosystems.
It is named for English-born Australian explorer and Antarctic navigator Captain John King Davis.
Australian Associated Press