In 2003, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) initiated a program to determine the national requirements for polar marine science in the Antarctic and to assess vessel characteristics for a new generation Polar Research Vessel (PRV). This paper describes the results of that investigation. Science requirements included a need for year-round operations covering a wide range of diverse activities in geographic areas currently inaccessible. These requirements were followed by a series of technical studies that provided an assessment of vessel size, hull form, and power plant to successfully operate in 1.4 m (4.5 ft) level ice.

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