Exploring the Bottom of the Arctic Ocean: Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition

Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition: July 1-Aug. 10, 2007. ‘No one has ever laid eyes on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. For the first time in the history of humankind, a scientific team — using unique underwater and under-ice vehicles — will try. At the top of the world, the Arctic Ocean is cold, remote, and covered in darkness for half the year. It’s hard enough to get onto the ice-covered ocean. It’s even harder to get under it and down to its seafloor.
For this 40-day cruise to the Gakkel Ridge in the eastern Arctic Ocean, engineers have built two new robotic autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The two vehicles, called PUMA and Jaguar, are designed to be put into holes in the sea ice and to explore the deep reaches of the Arctic Ocean. Many hours later, they will have navigate back to another hole in the ice and be recovered by the icebreaker. Scientists are excited about what they might find. The Arctic Ocean floor may be different than other oceans—including deep-sea life forms never seen before, or “living fossils” of species that existed when life on Earth was just beginning to evolve.’

Polar Discovery. ‘Polar Discovery brings you the stories of science on ice.’

International Polar Year (IPY). ‘The International Polar Year is a large scientific programme focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic from March 2007 to March 2009.
IPY, organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), is actually the fourth polar year, following those in 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8. In order to have full and equal coverage of both the Arctic and the Antarctic, IPY 2007-8 covers two full annual cycles from March 2007 to March 2009 and will involve over 200 projects, with thousands of scientists from over 60 nations examining a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics. It is also an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate, follow, and get involved with, cutting edge science in real-time.’

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