A POLAR research ship has returned to the UK following its second season being docked in Antarctica.

The RRS Sir David Attenborough returned to Harwich on Tuesday, May 30, after its crew completed trials during a seven-month expedition.

The vessel left Harwich last November, departing to the Falkland Islands for three weeks before heading to the Rothera Research Station in Antarctica.

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A spokesman for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), said: “The key achievement this season was the successful polar science trials.

“When the vessel leaves next, it will spend some time over the summer in refit in Rosyth, as well as conducting further trials around the coast of Scotland.

“The ship returns to Harwich early October for another week or so, and leaves for Antarctica late October.”

The RRS Sir David Attenborough left behind 37 scientists at stations on Bird Island, King Edward Point and Rothera.

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Polar science trials in Antarctica involved testing the ship’s combined science capabilities in deep waters.

The successful trials saw crews get the first ‘clean’ sea water chemistry samples using trace metal to measure Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD).

Marine biologists also used a high-resolution camera to reveal how life is colonising new fjords, which are long, deep and narrow bodies of water.

The Sir David Attenborough will leave again on June 8.