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Polarstern ANTXXIII/9 Antarctic expedition gets ready

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For the participants of the Polarstern ANTXXIII/8 Antarctic Expedition, Punta Arenas means the end of an exciting journey through the everlasting ice.

However, for the scientists, explorers and technicians of the upcoming Polarstern ANTXXIII/9 Expedition, this place stands for the beginning of their travel in the very eastern part of Antarctica — a place Polarstern has never been before and which only few scientists have ever put foot on. In addition to the various scientific programs, the ship and its crew will supply the German scientific station Neumayer, and a huge measuring program will be undertaken, in cooperation with the Russian Research Icebreaker Akademik Alexander Karpinsky.

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By now most of the participants of ANTXXIII/9 have made their way to Punta Arenas in Chile to get on board of the Polarstern and begin their southwards journey, straight to Antarctica. But before the ship can leave, work needs to be done on board. Laboratories have to be removed or changed and the ship has to be refuelled to be in operation for the next 12 weeks — and all this needs to be done in a very short period of time. Everybody on board must be ready for duty during this time, and those responsible for operations on the Polarstern must be aware of what is being done and when it is done. Excellent organization and troubleshooting is a must in such situations.

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Punta Arenas, Chile

Until the polar research ship Polarstern is ready to start off for Antarctica, it rides at anchor in the bay of Punta Arenas and offers a great view to everyone who arrives at Punta Arenas. For all of us participants, this ship will be home for the next 12 weeks, but during sunny days, icy days and during storms.

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Author: Michael Trapp
Submitted 7 February, 2007.

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