Saturday, March 17, 2007

To the North Pole

A couple of interesting news items recently relating to the submarines operating at and under the north pole.
First TheSubReport links to an article about the upcoming Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007). Submarine Force Announces This Year's Ice Exercise Participants
(USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716} north pole 2006 - US Navy Photo)

The USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN 757), home ported in Groton, Conn. will particapate with a Royal Navy Trafalgar class submarine in classified arctic operations in March and April 2007. But if you're not a submariner on SSN 757 or that un-named Royal Navy Trafalgar class submarine you can still reach and submerge at the north pole either this summer or in 2008.

A group called Deep Ocean Expeditions ,that operates science expeditions using the Russian MIR submersibles and support ships, is planning the first ever descent to the Amundsen Plain on the ocean floor of the north pole. From a Russian new service Russian Submersible To Reach 5 Km Depth.

(Russian MIR Submersible - NOAA Photo)

Here is the link to the expedition website "Submersible Dive to the Real North Pole". It's a little rich for me at $80,000USD to dive in the MIR to a 14,500 feet depth at the north pole. As a non-diver it will cost $15,000 to stay aboard the support ship for the duration of the expedition. A lot cheaper than the Russian equivalent to space tourism.

It is a once a lifetime event and an adventure in making history riding a nuclear icebreaker to the north pole and diving in a submersible to the bottom on the arctic ocean at the top of the world.

(Gulf of Alaska seamounts 2002 - NOAA & WHOI Alvin Submersible Video)

The closest I could find to wet the appetite for deep sea exploration is the above video from the Gulf of Alaska.

If anyone wants to fund a blogger on the Expedition I'm willing to go and write about the experience. I'll try not to say it was "way cool".

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