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After Year on Ice, the Biggest Arctic Research Mission Is Done

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The Polarstern amidst Arctic sea ice.

The Polarstern amidst Arctic sea ice.
Photo: NOAA, University of Colorado, Boulder, and MOSAiC

The largest Arctic research campaign in history just came to a close. For more than a year, a rotating group of roughly 500 scientists and staffers have been traveling the region on a research vessel called the Polarstern as part of the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate expedition, or MOSAiC.

The expedition began last September, when a team packed the ship with 1 million pounds of equipment and set off from Norway toward the North Pole. They then attached the vessel to an ice floe north of Siberia and let it carry them westward for thousands of miles. This allowed the multidisciplinary group of researchers to closely observe the Arctic’s air, ice, and ecosystems to learn more about them and their bearing on our changing climate.

The team studied everything from zooplankton and polar bears to sea ice and wind patterns. Along the way, they encountered many difficulties. At several points, for instance, the ice broke up more than they expected it would and forced them to change their planned path. They also saw dangerous storms, which in more than one case damaged their equipment. At one point, an Arctic fox chewed through data cables—seriously. And of course, there was the covid-19 pandemic, which forced them to pause the expedition for three weeks after a crew member getting ready to deploy to the vessel tested positive, delaying some of their research.

Illustration for article titled After More Than a Year on the Ice, the Biggest Arctic Research Mission Is Complete

Photo: Lianna Nixon, CIRES/University of Colorado, Boulder

The unique nature of the science and circumstances of the pandemic wasn’t the only time the expedition made news; its controversial, sexist dress code prohibiting women from wearing tight clothes also garnered backlash. Despite these challenges, the scientists arrived back on

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College grads struggle to launch careers in a pandemic economy. ‘I chose the worst year to get my life together’

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CHICAGO — Kevin Zheng had big plans lined up as he prepared to graduate in the spring with a degree in criminal justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The 23-year-old thought he’d enter the job market well-prepared, with an internship at the Chicago Police Department on his resume.

But the COVID-19 health crisis upended that plan. His internship was canceled, his graduation was delayed until August, and he sat in his bedroom for the virtual commencement ceremony. Now he’s looking for a job in a pandemic-induced recession.

“I chose the worst year to get my life together,” said Zheng, a first-generation college graduate who lives in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood.

As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, Zheng and other recent college graduates are grappling with a tight job market, high unemployment rates and pressure to find work to pay off student loans.

At the start of the year, Generation Z, typically defined as those born after 1997, was headed into the workforce during the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. But now the unemployment rate in Illinois for those ages 20 to 24 is 15.5%, one of the highest among all age groups in the state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

With more employers cutting jobs and some boosting qualifications for open positions, recent college graduates are worried they’ll fall behind in their careers. Some are saving money for student loan payments by cutting expenses, while others are applying for part-time and low-wage jobs. Many still live with their parents.

Zheng, who lives with his parents and owes about $30,000 in student loans, said he is considering picking up part-time work, but he’s seen how difficult it can be. Both his parents work in the restaurant industry, often cobbling together shifts at different dining

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Gen Z college grads struggle to launch careers in pandemic economy. ‘I chose the worst year to get my life together.’

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Kevin Zheng had big plans lined up as he prepared to graduate in the spring with a degree in criminal justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago.



a man looking at the camera: Jesus Mendoza, 23, at his Southeast Side home Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Mendoza graduated from Chicago State University in May with a business administration degree.


© Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Jesus Mendoza, 23, at his Southeast Side home Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Mendoza graduated from Chicago State University in May with a business administration degree.

The 23-year-old thought he’d enter the job market well-prepared, with an internship at the Chicago Police Department on his resume.

But the COVID-19 health crisis upended that plan. His internship was canceled, his graduation was delayed until August, and he sat in his bedroom for the virtual commencement ceremony. Now he’s looking for a job in a pandemic-induced recession.



a man sitting on a bench in front of a laptop: Jesus Mendoza, 23, graduated from Chicago State University in May with a business administration degree.


© Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Jesus Mendoza, 23, graduated from Chicago State University in May with a business administration degree.

“I chose the worst year to get my life together,” said Zheng, a first-generation college graduate who lives in Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood.

As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, Zheng and other recent college graduates are grappling with a tight job market, high unemployment rates and pressure to find work to pay off student loans.

At the start of the year, Generation Z, typically defined as those born after 1997, was headed into the workforce during the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. But now the unemployment rate in Illinois for those ages 20 to 24 is 15.5%, one of the highest among all age groups in the state, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.



a man sitting in front of a building: Kevin Zheng, 23, a first generation college graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, poses for a photo in the backyard of his parents' home, Oct. 9, 2020.


© Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Kevin Zheng, 23, a first generation college graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, poses for a photo in the backyard of his parents’ home, Oct. 9, 2020.

With more employers cutting jobs

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In Paris, Kenin eyes 2nd Slam of year, Swiatek 1st of career

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A little more than four years ago in Paris, Iga Swiatek beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-5 in the third round of the French Open junior event.



Sofia Kenin of the U.S. clenches her fist after scoring a point against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)


© Provided by Associated Press
Sofia Kenin of the U.S. clenches her fist after scoring a point against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

“I remember I lost. I don’t remember how I played,” Kenin said when asked about the only encounter between the two. “But definitely I can say I was not as comfortable on clay as I am now, as I started to feel last year. … Of course, we’re both different players now.”

Certainly are.

And the stakes in their second matchup at Roland Garros are considerably different from that 2016 meeting, too: Kenin, a 21-year-old from Florida, and Swiatek, a 19-year-old from Poland, will face each other Saturday in the French Open women’s final.

Swiatek (pronounced shvee-ON’-tek) is No. 54, making her the lowest-ranked woman to get this far at the tournament since the WTA computer rankings began in 1975. She seeks her first Grand Slam title; in six previous appearances, her best showing was the fourth round.



Poland's Iga Swiatek clenches her fist after scoring a point against Argentina's Nadia Podoroska in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)


© Provided by Associated Press
Poland’s Iga Swiatek clenches her fist after scoring a point against Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

“I mean, I have to figure out what she does. She’s had a great two weeks here. She’s had some great results, playing some really good tennis,” said Kenin, who eliminated two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova in the semifinals. “I know that I’m

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SpaceX may have Dragon spaceships in orbit without a break for a year

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SpaceX is preparing to launch four NASA astronauts on its Crew Dragon spaceship this Halloween — the first of six regular crewed missions the space agency has contracted from the rocket company founded by Elon Musk. (The one that concluded in August was considered a demonstration.)

That’s on top of the cargo resupply missions that SpaceX will regularly launch to the International Space Station for NASA. The company has been sending a spaceship designed to carry supplies, called Cargo Dragon, to the orbiting laboratory since 2012. That vehicle has made more than 20 trips to the station and back.

Combined, the two types of Dragon spacecraft are scheduled to launch into space seven times over the next 14 months, leading to an unprecedented situation for SpaceX.

Spacex crew dragon launch

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with a “Starman” dummy aboard on March 2, 2019.

NASA TV


“Every time there’s a Dragon launch, there’ll be two Dragons in space,” Benji Reed, director of crew mission management at SpaceX, said at a press conference earlier this month. 

That’s because each of the crewed SpaceX missions should overlap for a little while. The company’s next astronaut mission, called Crew 1, launches at the end of the month, then the next one, Crew-2, is scheduled to launch in late March 2021. But the Crew-1 astronauts don’t plan to leave the space station until April. The same thing should happen with the following mission, Crew-3: It’s expected to launch in September 2021, so should tag up with Crew-2 in orbit.

The Crew-1 crew includes NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins, and Victor Glover, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Hopkins is to be the mission commander, Glover the pilot, and Walker and Noguchi mission specialists.

soichi noguchi victor glover shannon walker nasa jaxa astronauts spacex spacesuits portrait crew 1 dragon spaceship mission KSC 20200924 PH SPX01_0009_orig

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts participate

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