to be frozen in a ship for several months in the eternal ice of the Arctic for most people is not a particularly attractive idea. Markus Rex is preparing to volunteer. And he is with his projects alone.

Together with an international team of researchers, he is on Board of the “Polarstern” of the Bremerhaven Alfred-Wegener-Institute (AWI) in the ice freezing. Starting in September, the research should drive the ship for a year, with the ice – a mammoth project. The timing of the planned Mission, will be exceeded by the Expedition of the French research vessel Tara, the scientist between 2006 and 2008 for 16 months on purpose in the sea ice around the North pole, freezing and drifting. The “Polarstern”-Mission scientists from 17 Nations take part. “I have been involved in many expeditions, but this is incomparable,” says Rex, who heads the travel.

From February to June, the Central Arctic is actually inaccessible, because the ice, even for ice breakers too thick. The “Polarstern” to the drifting ice enclosed with no drive on the ice Cap, following the model of the journey of the Norwegian, Fridtjof Nansen, with the sailing ship “Fram” around 125 years ago. The goal of the 120-million-Euro-project “Mosaic” is to understand climate change in more detail. The Arctic is considered an early warning system for climate changes, it has warmed in the past decades from all Regions of the earth, is the strongest.

In contrast to the “Fram” will not be the “Polarstern”. You can rely on the first and last sections, on the support of other icebreakers. “We need fresh food and fuel supplies,” says expedition leader Rex. The screw propeller is the most of the time. In order to provide the “North star” with heat and electricity, is one of the machines run nevertheless.

First, the ship departs from Norway, along the Siberian coast and then poleward into the ice. At the destination arrived, the Team has two weeks time, on the ice, a Camp to build. At several stations measurements in sea water, in the ice and in the atmosphere. During the construction phase it is during the day, just four hours of twilight. “This is going to be hectic. From the second half of October, it will be pitch black,” says Rex.

The polar night is just one of the many challenges that exist in the run-up to concerns. For months, the preparations are running at the AWI. Also, emergency plans need to be created, for example, for the case that the pack ice is breaking up, while scientists are on it. “Then apply it: Only the people in a place of safety, then the Equipment,” says AWI-engineer Bjela king, for the risk assessment is competent.

the “Polarstern” is taking part in the Expedition of damage, it cannot be ruled out – for example, if the ship is back under full power on the surveys in the pack ice, the so-called Presseis, you should travel, which can be several meters thick. Since the Crew is planning to do, but to let the ice cream to include, this is rather unlikely. And from the white masses, crushed or lifted out to be, can’t happen to the modern ship.

Dangerous could also be polar bears. Thus, the researchers can safely work on the ice, armed used. “We need to clarify, how many Teams can be protected,” said king. Made difficult the work of the guards from the dark and from rare, dense fog in the Arctic.

More on the topic In the Interview, marine biologist Antje Boetius of the Expedition of the “Polaris”

the AWI-ice specialist list Marcel Nicolaus, meanwhile, to coordinate the arrangement of the stations on the ice. “The number is beyond any previously known Dimension of the other expeditions,” says the physicist. In order for the scientists not to come into the enclosure, should be divided into the plaice.

the end of 2019 will learning Rex, together with other scientists and members of the crew of the escort ship “Admiral Makarov” returned to Norway to other researchers then re-Board. All the participants of the expedition will remain for only two to three months at a stretch. On further travel of the sections in the year 2020, Rex will be back on the “Polarstern”.

In the meantime, on the thick ice with snow, a Plane runway groomers to be groomed. In April, 2020, then, can land the first supply plane, if it will be for icebreakers no more to come through the pack ice. If it is not possible for the Parties to prepare a stable runway, long helicopter routes.

create A Camp office country piste is possible, because the ice drifts, together with the “pole star” in the direction of the South. “Our environment travels with us,” explained expedition leader Rex. Until June 2020, the melting period starts. Then the “Polarstern” between Greenland and Spitsbergen is spits back “out” and the evaluation of many of the obtained data, we can begin.

Janet Binder/dpa/stu