Following the 2018 overwintering mission, now for the second time, a crewmember for the DLR Antarctic greenhouse EDEN ISS will also take part. On the 2021 team, plant scientist Jess Bunchek from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will spend a year on the icy continent as a guest researcher from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), cultivating vegetables without soil and under artificial light. This collaboration is intended to contribute towards the design of a future greenhouse for the Moon or Mars, and help define the requirements for supporting the astronaut crew.
Meanwhile, Polarstern is travelling to Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands. There a new crew and an international scientific team for an oceanographic research expedition in the Weddell Sea will come on board. For these expedition participants, too, there will be strict protection concepts with quarantining and tests. On her return from this expedition to the Antarctic, the ship will collect the old Neumayer overwintering and technical teams, as well as the researchers. On the short journey back to Port Stanley, there are also memories of the ‘good old days’: huddling together is the order of the day. In order to be able to take the passengers from Neumayer, three instead of the now usual two people have to squeeze into each of the science quarters. But the quarters were always designed to accommodate three each, and most of the research will be completed, so the passengers should be able to cope for the few days until the ship drops anchor in the Falklands. From there, most of them will fly home, while Polarstern, with a small group of researchers, will continue on her return journey to Bremerhaven, where the Antarctic season will end in April.