New Antarctic Research Vessel

Advanced Icebreaking Research Vessel Development Beginning

The Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently approved for the Office of Polar Programs Antarctic Research Vessel (ARV) project to move forward into the initial stages of the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) program. This is a major step forward in the development of an advanced icebreaking research vessel to replace the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) flagship research vessel, the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer. The RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer has operational limitations and is reaching the end of its lifetime.

The RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer has granted scientists access to ice-covered seas surrounding Antarctica for nearly 30 years, giving NSF-supported researchers a leading role in advancing the understanding of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The unique region offers an unparalleled laboratory for scientific discoveries in fields such as climate change, biology, and oceanography.

If the design is approved and the project is fully funded, the new vessel would begin operations in 2030. Below is a conceptual rendering of the new ARV.

Current rendering of the new Antarctic Research Vessel

Current rendering of the new Antarctic Research Vessel

NSF, illustrated by Gibbs & Cox, a Leidos Company