30 years of POLARSTERN – A success story
On 9 December 2012 the Alfred Wegener Institute is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the launch of the research icebreaker POLARSTERN. This is reason enough to take a closer look at the vessel here. Be sure to drop by regularly for we will continuously expand the list of articles in the course of the year.
30 years of research and expedition history captured in drawings, games, flags, as well as in reports about receptions, events and historic happenings. Polarstern’s guest logbook tells a story about the people and their experiences on board.
The German research vessel POLARSTERN has been sailing through the polar regions of our planet in the service of science for nearly 30 years. Many a conventional vessel would already have gone to the ship’s graveyard by this time. The POLARSTERN, however, defies age thanks to good care and keeps pace with the times as far as technology is concerned. In an interview Captain Uwe Pahl and Engineer Ralf Krocker talk about the capabilities of the ship and what innovations can be found on board.
After nearly 30 years of sailing the seas there are naturally innumerable statistics regarding the German research vessel POLARSTERN. We have compiled a few of the most interesting facts and figures here.
In January of this year our photographer Thomas Steuer had the opportunity of spending two weeks on board the research vessel so he could photograph the crew and scientists. You can see a selection of his pictures of life and research on board the POLARSTERN here – as a taste of what’s to come!
“Do we want a bucket or a solid, presentable ship for German Antarctic research?” When in July 1978 Bundestag parliamentarian Horst Grunenberg posed this question to Helmut Schmidt, the German Chancellor at that time, he laid the foundation for the success story of the research icebreaker POLARSTERN. That same night, in fact, the Chancellor doubled the planned investment amount for the research vessel. Dr. Christian Salewski, archivist at the archives for German polar research based at the Alfred Wegener Institute, has compiled this and other milestones in POLARSTERN’s 30-year history for you.
Looking down: Where Polarstern has already surveyed the seafloor
One of the most important measuring devices on board the Polarstern is the multibeam echosounder system used to survey the seafloor. The AWI Bathymetry and Geodesy working group has stored a great deal of these bathymetric data collected on expeditions over the past 30 years in Google Earth. If you have installed Google Earth, you can take a look at the route overview created in this way yourself. Simply click on this link. Google Earth will then open automatically. You will find further links via which you can look at the soil profiles of various marine regions here.