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Ship personnel deploy a net off the Gould.
Photo Credit: Peter Rejcek
RPSC marine technician Justin Smith, left, and Chance Miller deploy a net off the stern of the ARSV Laurence M. Gould during the Palmer LTER science cruise in January 2010. The ship has supported the month-long cruise since 1997.

Gould charter extended

Research vessel to continue to support NSF mission for next five years

Cue the William Shatner voice-over:

“These are the voyages of the ARSV Laurence M. Gould External U.S. government site. Its five-year mission: to explore climate change and seek out new marine organisms — and to boldly go where no U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) External U.S. government site research vessel has gone before.”

The Gould at the Palmer Station pier.
Photo Credit: Peter Rejcek
The Gould at Palmer Station pier.

Well, you get the idea: Raytheon Polar Services Co. (RPSC) External Non-U.S. government site announced in February that it negotiated an extension to the charter for one of the USAP’s two research vessels with Edison Chousest Offshore, Inc. External Non-U.S. government site The charter has been extended for five years, until July 2015, with an option for an additional five years.

RPSC is the prime contractor to the National Science Foundation External U.S. government site, which manages the USAP.

Built in 1997 by Louisiana-based Edison Chousest, the Gould is a 230-foot-long, ice-strengthened vessel used to support Antarctic research, as well as to transport people and cargo between Punta Arenas, Chile, and Palmer Station External U.S. government site off the Antarctic Peninsula.

Research solicitation Information

Interested principal investigators should submit research proposals to the NSF Office of Polar Programs (OPP) External U.S. government site, Division of Antarctic Sciences External U.S. government site. The Antarctic Research solicitation External U.S. government site describes the science programs supported as USAP and how to prepare a proposal. 

The Gould replaced the RV Polar Duke, which the NSF chartered from 1985-1997. The Gould generally operates year-round out of Punta Arenas, and can accommodate about 26 research scientists for missions up to 75 days long. Each January, the ship embarks on a month-long cruise in support of the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research program External Non-U.S. government site, which studies the ecosystem along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Other scientific work recently supported by the Gould includes tagging humpback whales, collecting icefish for various experiments, and deploying field camps for geologic work on several islands around the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Gould is named in honor of Laurence McKinley Gould, a polar explorer, geologist, teacher and college president. He was second-in-command during Adm. Richard E. Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition of 1929-1930. An international figure with 25 honorary degrees, Gould died in 1995 at the age of 99, the year that the NSF initiated the charter on the ice-strengthened vessel. 

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Curator: Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Support Contract | NSF Official: Winifred Reuning, Division of Polar Programs