Mücke / Bremerhaven (dpa / lhe) – The German research vessel “Polarstern” has started with a special laboratory developed in Hesse in the Antarctic. Specifically, there is a laboratory for working on board the aircraft during the flight, which was developed and built by the company MK-Versuchsanlagen und Laborbedarf in Mücke in the Vogelsberg region. The trip should start on Sunday from Bremerhaven. Scientists want to test Antarctic sea water for its trace mineral content in the lab in the hull of the ship. Iron, manganese, zinc and cobalt are essential for microalgae. These release oxygen and are therefore important to our climate.
In order not to falsify the water samples, the laboratory must be completely free of metals and consist exclusively of plastic. Project Director Wolfgang Küstner explained: “The biggest challenge, however, was accommodating so much technology in such a small space. Many of the detailed solutions also have to do with the fact that everything must be seaworthy. The entire container has to fit, even In raging seas.”
From the stern of the research vessel, a rack with up to 24 bottles is lowered 4,000 meters into the Antarctic sea water. Very sensitive devices within the measurement, among other things, of sea water depth, pressure, salinity, conductivity and temperature of sea water. In the laboratory, the 10-liter bottles containing water samples are washed from the outside. Wolfgang Küstner designed a special laboratory sink for this purpose. This type of dishwasher cleans bottles using a computer-controlled program using water produced in a laboratory’s ultrapure water system.
Project Director Küstner will travel to Gran Canaria on the research vessel to test the laboratory’s functionality. The research vessel then sets its course for Cape Town in South Africa, and from there it goes to the Weddell Sea. On May 27, Polarstern is scheduled to dock again in Bremerhaven.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211205-99-263818 / 2
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