ST. PETERSBURG, August 29. /TASS/. The North Pole unique ice-resistant self-propelled platform during the maiden expedition changed successfully an ice floe to continue drifting in the Arctic Ocean's straits. This is the first mission of the kind, and the North Pole - 41 expedition approached the final stage which will finish before the year ends, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI, St. Petersburg) Alexander Makarov told reporters.
"The final stage of the North Pole - 41 expedition, according to our plans, will be completed this year. During the free drift over almost 11 months, the station has covered almost 3,000 km, having drifted more than 1,200 km north-west from the New Siberian Islands. During the recent months, the station has been actively pushed eastbound: right now the expedition is above the Franz Josef Land Archipelago, at the level of 83.5 degrees north. We assume that within a few months the station will reach ice-free waters and the North Pole vessel will bring the polar explorers back to Murmansk," he said.
Right now, it is the warmest season in the high Arctic latitudes, he added. The huge ice floe, into which the platform had been frozen since October, 2022, has been melting rapidly. Thus, the solution was to use air reconnaissance to pick a suitable ice floe for the platform to continue drifting.
On a new ice field, which is 1.2 by 1.8 km, the expedition participants are arranging a new camp to continue surveys of the global processes in the Arctic. The North Pole platform has sailed to the ice floe and berthed to it.
Parallel to this change of floes, the Akademik Tryoshnikov scientific vessel has finalized the voyage to bring the expedition's fresh personnel shift, and to deliver necessary supplies for the expedition. However, the institute's director continued, 80% of the expedition's personnel had been working in the Arctic for the entire 11 months.
The North Pole - 41 expedition continues the program of complex drifting research in the Arctic high latitudes, founded by Soviet scientists. The world's first Arctic research drifting station - North Pole ("North Pole - 1") began working on May 21, 1937. The country has organized 40 expeditions of the kind.
In 2013, a team of scientists was evacuated from the North Pole - 40 drifting station, and the program remained suspended for almost ten years. In 2022, the Arctic drifting stations program was resumed at a new technological level - the expedition is supported by the North Pole ice-resistant self-propelled platform.
The North Pole is world's first ice-resistant self-propelled platform, designed for year-round expeditions in the Arctic Ocean's northern latitudes. It does not require an icebreaker to sail to a designated area, it can drift for up to two years, and to return to port afterwards. The vessel takes 14 crew members and 34 scientific personnel. The platform is equipped with an onboard scientific complex of 15 laboratories, a mobile field camp for accommodation on ice floes.