The ice-resistant platform “North Pole”, which will improve the quality of weather forecasts and ice conditions on the Northern Sea Route, has successfully passed control tests. It is planned that on September 1, she will already make her first flight.
The platform will allow resuming the program of domestic drifting polar stations, started by Soviet scientists 85 years ago and suspended for safety reasons in 2013 due to a decrease in the strength of ice.
The “North Pole” will operate using a new technology — under its own power it will reach the place of the beginning of wintering, then it will be frozen in ice. Scientists will set up a mobile scientific camp around the ship, which, in case of danger of ice floe destruction, can be quickly turned off and continue research from the ship. The platform has enough reserve of autonomy to drift for up to two years.
“Control tests have shown that the platform works perfectly. All necessary certificates and documents have been accepted. All navigation and ship equipment has been checked. The helicopter complex has been tested,” said Alexander Makarov, Director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.
The crew of the platform is almost completely formed, it remains only to find cooks. The main team of scientists who will be engaged in research has already been assembled. It included 27 people.
Thanks to the work of the platform, scientists after the first year of work will receive data on climatic processes in the Arctic, ice drift, degradation of the ice cover, and the increased influence of warm Atlantic waters in the Arctic. “The transfer of the vessel to Roshydromet is being prepared, and then to our institute. The acceptance of the platform and its full preparation for departure is scheduled for August,” Makarov added.
The head of the Ministry of Natural Resources Alexander Kozlov noted that it is unlikely that other countries will build something similar in the foreseeable future. “The strength of the hull is such that the vessel will be able to freeze into the ice for two years and drift. This will allow you to get to those parts of the Arctic where it is extremely difficult to get to, and where no one has ever been. Accordingly, we will begin to receive unique data on the state of the ice, the atmosphere, and the nature of the high-latitude Arctic. Data that is currently unavailable. By the way, we invite scientists from other countries to take part in it. Because science should not have borders, especially if it concerns climate research,” the minister said.
It is expected that on September 1, the platform will make its first flight from St. Petersburg to Murmansk, and from there will go on the first expedition to the Central Arctic. In the future, the North Pole platform will become a key link in the Arctic spatially Distributed Observatory, combining the Cape Baranova Ice Base research hospital, the Russian Scientific Center in the Svalbard Archipelago and the Tiksi Hydrometeorological Observatory.
AANIA scientists have discovered previously unexplored lakes in Antarctica. The head of the Institute noted that the collected samples have already been transferred to the Institute of Lake Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is expected that the first results of the samples will be available in the fall, after that a detailed plan for their study will be drawn up. As Makarov noted, it will take about five years to study them.
“We want to be able to give the names first so that they are Russian. If we do not declare them, as is customary procedurally, then any other foreign organization or country will be able to do it,” Makarov said.
The Institute is currently working with Rosreestr to properly register these discoveries and assign them names.
“The lakes are located at the station “Russian” (located in West Antarctica on the coast of Mary Baird Land. — Note “RG”). This is the most difficult station for us in terms of logistics and weather conditions: you can go there only two or three weeks a year. We still can’t figure out which season we will be there — this year or next,” Makarov said.