Antarctic Scientists Push for New Icebreaking Research Ship
A National Academies report published last week calls for aging Antarctic research infrastructure to be quickly updated or replaced.
The report urges the National Science Foundation to prioritize funding construction of a new icebreaking research vessel or risk the U.S. falling behind other nations in research that is essential to national security. “The U.S. is already behind schedule in updating our scientific infrastructure in the region, especially for aging research vessels,” said report co-chair Alan Mix, a professor of earth sciences at Oregon State University, in a press release.
The report also recommends that NSF try to find a cost-effective way to support two light helicopters on the vessel, or secure other means of offering a comparable capability. So far NSF has proceeded with a vessel design without a helipad, drawing criticism from some scientists.