Several so-called ice stations are planned for the work: “The ship docks at a floe, then the ice researchers go onto the floe, we deploy various robots and free-fall devices and, in parallel, we look at the creatures at the bottom with the zoologists, more than 4000 metres below. In this way, we recognise connections in all levels of the ocean from the sea ice to the seabed,” explains Antje Boetius. In doing so, the team is returning to the same working areas as in 2012 for comparative studies: to the particularly productive marginal ice zone and regions with perhaps still perennial ice cover in the central Arctic. A range of proven but also new technologies will be used for the work, for example lander systems, deep-sea crawlers and the Ocean Floor Observation and Bathymetry System (OFOBS) developed at the AWI. The return takes place after the summer ice melt, when the autumn sea ice formation begins.
Among the participants is a camera team from UFA Documentary GmbH, which is filming the expedition. The television documentary, which is being produced in cooperation with NDR, is scheduled to be broadcast on ARD at the turn of the year. Already during the expedition, interested parties can gain impressions from on board in the radio program of Radio Bremen and of course also follow the expedition in the Polarstern app and on the social media channels of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Polarstern is scheduled to return to its home port of Bremerhaven on 1 October.