Virus delay, early ice melt challenge Arctic science mission

BERLIN (AP) — Dozens of scientists are sitting in quarantine, waiting for permission to sail forth and capture a crucial moment in the polar calendar that’s essential to their year-long Arctic research mission. Matthew Shupe, co-leader of the international expedition, said some of those currently on board the research vessel Polarstern wanted to abandon the mission as the pandemic began, but others pushed back. Organizers have now come up with a plan to exchange the current team with the help of two other German research ships, but this will require a three-week pause to the expedition. Shupe hopes researchers won’t miss the onset of the sea ice melt season, a key moment in the polar cycle.