DiscoverThe IcePodEpisode Five – 77 Luftballons
Episode Five – 77 Luftballons

Episode Five – 77 Luftballons

Update: 2020-07-29


Here is the scary episode of the IcePod. In the fifth full episode of the IcePod, we talk to Anja Sommerfeld, atmospheric scientist and project manager of MOSAiC. During Leg 2 onboard Polarstern, however, Anja had an additional role to fill: In the murderer game she happens to pick the 'wrong' ticket but brilliantly fulfilled her job as a murderer. Nobody ever suspected her, and colleagues were rather puzzled when Anja approached them to kill, of course just by saying so.

Anja not only had an excel spreadsheet of the people to murder aboard Polarstern but in general is one of the most organized people we met so far. For her job as a project manager, she makes to-do lists: for today, for next week, for the long term, and, guess what, Markus Rex has his own to-do list. Over time, she consolidated her strategy and through learning-by-doing, Anja grew as a project manager together with MOSAiC.
As part of Team Atmosphere, Anja woke up at exactly 7.13 am every day to launch one of the 77 early-morning weather balloons from Polarstern's Deck A (in total, there are four radiosondes launches per day onboard the research vessel ). Special conditions require special preparations: Because of the Arctic winter low temperatures, the weather balloon needed to be pampered in a bath of oil and kerosene before actually being sent up in the air.

Special guest of the expedition and Anja's highlight when working on the ice was Lady Miss Piggy. Everybody loves that big and hard-to-miss red balloon and her home, balloon town, which appears to be the prettiest place on the ice floe observatory. Preparing a flight with Miss Piggy can be a tough job though, as the drama queen is very sensitive to winds.

If you miss the music, find the very special playlist that Anja created on Spotify:

If you want to listen to the full episode with music, check back with us:

For updates and other materials, check also our website:

Arctic Drift Audiologbuch (in German):

The IcePod is the podcast about polar science and the people. We’ll talk to scientists who went on board Polarstern, the German research icebreaker, for the biggest research expedition in the Arctic. The IcePod is the official podcast of the Year of Polar Prediction initiative to improve weather and sea-ice forecast in the Arctic and Antarctic. 

Editorial responsibility: Kirstin Werner and Sara Pasqualetto 

Music from

"Sweeter Vermouth" by Kevin MacLeod (

Licence: CC BY (

Photo credit: Julia Wenzel (German Weather Service/DWD)









Sleep Timer


End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

Episode Five – 77 Luftballons

Episode Five – 77 Luftballons