Almost 270 arctic and antarctic expeditions
The research vessel Polarstern was first commissioned in 1982. Since then, the ship has completed almost 270 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic (autumn 2018). Specially designed for working in polar seas, Polarstern is currently one of the most sophisticated polar research and supply vessels in the world. And although it has been in service for over 35 years, it can still fully perform its operational duties thanks to the modern technology on board.
The ship is equipped for research in the areas of biology, geology, geophysics, glaciology, chemistry, oceanography and meteorology. It has nine research laboratories and can be equipped with additional laboratory containers.
This research vessel is operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven. It is owned by the Federal Government, represented by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Facts and figures
Max. 44 crew and approx. 50 researchers
Daily cost of operation: 70,000 euros
Approx. 310 days a year at sea
Scientists on board Polarstern conduct
- polar research
- earth research
- marine research
- climate research
The Alfred Wegener Institute, which operates Polarstern, has a budget of 149 million euros (2017). Because the AWI belongs to the Helmholtz Association, 90% of its annual budget comes from federal funds, with 10% provided by three German states (Länder).