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Arctic

The Baltika at the Arctech Helsinki Shipyard

Last August we heard about the Baltika, a rather clever icebreaker that can temporarily increase its frontal area by traveling sideways into the ice. At the time, it was still under construction, and the only images available were renderings. Now, however, it's complete and has begun sea trials.  Read More

The NB 508 (aka the Baltika) crashes through the ice side-on (Image: Arctech Helsinki Ship...

Given that icebreakers clear a path for other ships by traveling through the ice head-on (or sometimes butt-on), then in order for one of them to clear a wider path, it would have to be wider and thus larger overall ... right? Well, Finland’s Arctech Helsinki Shipyard is taking a different, more efficient approach. It’s in the process of building an asymmetric-hulled icebreaker that can increase its frontal area, by making its way through the ice at an angle of up to 30 degrees.  Read More

GROVER on the move during a sustained test of the power consumption (Photo: NASA Goddard/M...

NASA scientists have unleashed a new robot on the arctic terrain of Greenland to demonstrate that its ability to operate with complete autonomy in one of Earth's harshest environments. Named GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, the polar robotic ranger carries ground-penetrating radar for analysis of snow and ice, and an autonomous control system. All of that is placed between two solar panels and two snowmobile tracks.  Read More

NASA's GROVER, without solar panels. The laptop is a temporary fixture (Photo: Gabriel Tri...

NASA's autonomous, solar-powered explorer GROVER has been kitted out with ground-penetrating radar to take to Greenland's ice sheet on Friday. There the robot will spend a month analyzing the accumulation of snow and how this contributes to the ice sheet over time. The scientists involved hope to identify a new layer of ice that has formed since summer 2012, an unusually warm summer which saw melting across 97 percent of the area of the ice sheet. During that time, an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan calved from the Petermann Glacier, part of the ice sheet.  Read More

The ColdWear demonstration sleeve

Working on arctic oil rigs and similar sites doesn't just mean putting on a jumper and a scarf. It’s arduous, exhausting and dangerous, and requires careful judgment at all times to deal with the hostile frozen environment. To make this a bit less hazardous, the Scandinavian research organization SINTEF is developing clothing equipped with sensors to monitor temperature and activity, with an eye on helping supervisors to determine when it's time for workers to stop work and return inside.  Read More

MT Tempera, one of the new class of double acting reversible ships, going backwards to act...

The Arctic North end of Russia is believed to hold as much as a quarter of all the world's oil deposits - an utterly monstrous economic prize, hidden in one of the toughest and least hospitable environments on the planet. Getting to this prize, and then transporting it back to refineries, is a monolithic task that requires one of the most awe-inspiring pieces of machinery man has ever built - the nuclear icebreaker. Purpose-built to the point of being almost unseaworthy on the open waves, these goliaths smash their way through 10-foot thick ice crusts to create viable pathways for other vessels - but fascinating new technologies could mean the days of the dedicated icebreaker are numbered.  Read More

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson (right) and his Audi-designed expedition sled (All p...

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson definitely has his work cut out for him. On April 6th he began his one-year Pole2Pole trek, in the course of which he intends to travel from the North to South Pole using only carbon-neutral transportation. He has already begun to ski down from the North Pole, with other legs of his journey intended to include travel by dog sled, sailboat, bicycle and kite-assisted sled. Given that his life may depend on everything performing properly, he won’t just be using a garden-variety toboggan to haul his gear across the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps – instead, expedition sponsor Audi has made him a one-of-a-kind sled.  Read More

Scientists are using a Scan Eagle UAV and image recognition software to track seals on the...

The Arctic region is currently experiencing a warming trend which is seeing the ice cap break apart, and may even ultimately result in the total absence of ice in the summer months. Many scientists attribute this trend to man made global warming, but whatever the cause, it’s not good news for the seals that breed, rest, and escape marine predators on the ice. In an effort to understand the full scope of the situation, scientists have turned to the Boeing-designed Scan Eagle – an unmanned aerial vehicle more often used for military reconnaissance.  Read More

For a holiday with a lot of difference, Arctic Trucks gets you among the action in Iceland...

You will probably never get the chance to race a Bugatti Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon, play "car darts" or fire an anti-tank gun at a flying Ford Scorpio - because unless your name is Clarkson, May or Hammond, you don't have the best damn job in the world. But if you fancy a taste of the incredible life the Top Gear crew enjoy, you might be interested to hear that Arctic Trucks, the Iceland-based company that took the lads to the North Pole in 2007's Polar Challenge, is now offering a range of two-day, five-day and longer expeditions across the same territory - in the same beefed-up Toyota 4WDs that raced against Hammond's dog sled team. Bring your own smug British humor.  Read More

Interpolated geolocation tracks of 11 Arctic terns tracked from breeding colonies in Green...

It’s official: the Arctic tern has the longest migration of any animal in the world. The Arctic Tern Migration Project recently discovered that the tern flies over 70,000 kilometers (43,496 miles) annually, from its breeding grounds in the Arctic to its winter quarters in the Antarctic. That distance is more than twice what was previously estimated. Over the lifetime of one bird, it travels approximately 2.4 million kilometers, the equivalent of three trips to the moon and back. For a bird that weighs just over 100 grams (3.5 ounces), that’s fairly impressive.  Read More

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