Getting To, From and Around the Central Arctic

The flagship German icebreaker, RV Polarstern, will be frozen in ice and drift for a full year through the Central Arctic, following in the footsteps of an earlier 19th century expedition under Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen. MOSAiC will mark the first time a modern research icebreaker will study near the North Pole throughout the polar winter. It is hailed as the largest Central Arctic expedition ever, with 19 countries, over 600 people and a budget exceeding 155 million US dollars!

How do people get around?:

Utilizing the proper tools for the job is a vital part of conducting successful expeditions to the most northern place on Earth. Powerful icebreakers and research vessels are necessary to break through the sea ice floes that blanket the ocean, aircraft are used to navigate the skies and snowmobiles are deployed from ships for installing scientific equipment. All of these modes are transportation are used together to make Arctic travel possible. 

In order to travel to the Central Arctic, expedition members usually use ships such as icebreakers or large research vessels that can break through the sea ice. It is also possible to travel in planes that land on ice runways during certain times of the year.

I traveled on the Russian research vessel Akademik Fedorov alongside the Polarstern to the Arctic. It took the expedition about five days to reach sea ice and a little over a week to reach the Central Arctic. Once there, our goal was to travel around to different ice floes to deploy scientific instruments.