The 261-foot Sikuliaq rests in the water moments after its launch from a shipyard in Marinette, Wisc. (Credit: Todd Paris/UAF)
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks, is expected to acquire a new research vessel in early June that will allow polar scientists to navigate treacherous Arctic waters, Nature reported.
The 80-meter RV Sikuliaq is the first research vessel built for the National Science Foundation since 1981. Its primary mission will study glacial ice loss and the impact of climate change in the north. The vessel carries an array of oceanographic improvements, including sonar sensors, a reinforced hull and capacity for underwater drones.
The U.S. oceanographic research fleet consists of 24 vessels counting the Sikuliaq, many of which are aging without hope of replacement. The vessel cost $200 million to build, and was made possible through a $148 million donation from former NSF director Arden Bement.
Image: The 261-foot Sikuliaq rests in the water moments after its launch from a shipyard in Marinette, Wisc. (Credit: Todd Paris/UAF)