Rothera research station is a British Antarctic Survey (BAS) base on the Antarctic Peninsula, located at 67°34′S, 68°08′W, Rothera Point, Adelaide Island.
Rothera Station is the BAS logistics centre for the Antarctic and home to well-equipped biological laboratories and facilities for a wide range of research. The station is situated on a rock and raised beach promontory at the southern extremity of Wormald Ice Piedmont, south-eastern Adelaide Island. The station has a 900 m crushed rock runway, with an associated hangar and bulk fuel storage facility, and a wharf for the discharge of cargo from supply ships. There is a transitory summer population of scientists and support staff who reach Rothera either by ship or through use of an intercontinental Dash-7 aircraft flying from the Falkland Islands. The station was made world-famous in 2007 because of its involvement in the Live Earth concert series.
Rothera station was established in 1975 to replace Adelaide station (1961-1977) where the skiway had deteriorated. From its inception until the 1991-92 summer season BAS Twin Otter aircraft used the skiway 300 m above the station on Wormald Ice Piedmont. With the commissioning of the gravel runway and hangar in 1991-92 air operations became more reliable and access to Rothera was greatly improved through a direct airlink from the Falkland Islands. The Twin Otters mainly fly south of Rothera, via a network of fuel depots, most of which are manned. Heading south of Rothera, the first stop would be Fossil Bluff, then Sky Blu. The Dash 7 will make approximately 20 flights a season to Stanley during the summer, bringing in scientists, support staff, food and equipment. When not tasked for these flights, the Dash can fly to Sky Blu in one hop, landing on the Blue Ice runway, significantly enhancing the range of the Twin Otters by depoting fuel and equipment in much larger quantities.
The opening of the Bonner Laboratory in 1996-97 marked the start of new activities in biological sciences in the Antarctic Peninsula. These included scuba diving and experiments conducted in the Bonner Laboratory throughout the year. The first Bonner Lab burned down in the winter of 2001 after an electrical fault; it was rebuilt and opened in December 2003.
Meteorological research using satellite data intercepted at the Rothera ground station also continues year round.
Fieldwork is concentrated in the summer months from November until March. Once in the field, the parties travel using skidoos and sledges for up to four months, and, being in daily HF radio communication with Rothera, they can be resupplied when necessary by air.
The station is open throughout the year with a maximum population of 130 in the summer and an average winter population of 22.