Icebreakers are the bouncers of the ship world. With specially designed thicker hulls shaped to direct ice to the sides and under the ship, they ram into massive ice pockets and drive their way through, sometimes climbing up onto the ice to crack it under the ship’s weight.
For the last couple of months, marine scientist Cassandra Brooks has been on one of these massive machines called the Nathaniel B. Palmer in the Ross Sea, and she’s decided to upload a hyperlapse to prove it and take us on a two month ice breaking research voyage in the process.
The Nathaniel B. Palmer is a massive icebreaker built specifically for the US National Science Foundation. On a typical journey, it can cart upwards of 35 scientists and 20 crew members as it braves the Antarctic seas. It can stay out for as long as 75 days, making this 2 month push through the ice not all that out of character.
The hyperlapse takes you on one of those research trips, minus the freezing cold, blistering winds and, of course, all that troublesome research. Instead, we get to enjoy watching massive ice shelves fracture at the ship’s insistence, gorgeous Antarctic sunsets, and a few penguins thrown in to boot.
To continue following Brooks’ research trip through the Antarctic and see more of what life is like on the Nathaniel B. Palmer, head over to National Geographic’s Ocean Views blog by clicking here.