A dark-colored limpet in a lab tank. It’s a cold winter’s morning. You sit in the driver’s seat of a car and turn on the engine, giving it a few minutes to warm up before making your morning commute. Perhaps, instead of a car, you are on a bus, train, or plane. In all of these scenarios, you are producing a common thing. Carbon dioxide (CO2).

Map showing Palmer Station in relation to Anvers Island, the Gerlache Straight, and the Antarctic Peninsula.

I felt like a cuckoo clock the night before we reached Palmer Station. As I slept in the top bunk of my cabin, seemingly on the hour I woke and sat up wondering if we were there yet.  Peering out the porthole conveniently located at mattress level by my knees I could see our ship, the Laurence M. Gould (LMG) was still a ways offshore to go yet. Back to sleep. 

Addie, Chuck, Maggie, Hannah standing on the concrete dock in front of the bright orange hull of the Laurence M. Gould.When our group (Chuck, Maggie, Hannah, and I) boarded the LMG, more formally known as Laurence M. Gould, the ship which would take us from Punta Arenas to Palmer Station, I thought that it felt much more like a boat than any other boat I’ve been on.

Hannah, Addie, Maggie and Chuck Amsler in Punta Arenas, the Laurence M. Gould far in the background. My parents and brother hugged me one last time before I left my family to join the line for TSA at the Huntsville Airport. We would see each other again, but that wouldn’t be until May, nearly five months from now.

""It was the evening of March 18th, 2020 at Palmer Station, Antarctica. As Station Science Leader (SSL), I had the luxury of my own office, and was there having a sobering conversation with Bob Farrell, the Station Manager and a long-time friend.