MARINE LIVE-ICE AUTOMOBILE EXPEDITION TO THE NORTH POLE 2009
Traveling in an automobile over the ice is challenging enough even when the surface is merely ice covered asphalt. When the road lay across ice floes floating over miles of ocean waters with unpredictable currents underneath that cause these large ice fields to shift and collide creating meters high ridges, then car travel becomes a thing in itself, a challenge for both - resilience and resourcefulness of men and dependability and versatility of the machines.
Amidst the white endlessness of the Arctic Ocean there is an infinitesimally small point – the North Pole. Explorers, scientists and adventurers have been traversing the ice of the Arctic to reached this invisible point on foot, in dog sleds, on skis, in airplanes and gigantic atomic engine powered ice breaker ships. Never before, however, had anyone traveled all the way to the North Pole in an automobile.
Not until on April 26th 2009 the Russian crew of seven men had accomplished the feat by reaching the North Pole in two auto vehicles “Yemelya”, thus contributing to Russia’s leadership in Arctic exploration and research and establishing the new world record in Northern travel and exploration using wheeled vehicles.
The following three objectives of the expedition had been established and successfully met:
1. Establishing Russia’s leadership in Arctic research and exploration by expanding research and development capabilities through the introduction and field testing of the surface vehicles capable of handling Arctic ocean ice and waters while establishing the new world record in Northern exploration and travel using wheeled vehicles.
2. Field testing and proving effective the new innovative design of engineer Elagin’s “Yemelya” amphibious all terrain vehicles.
Over the course of the expedition the unique and innovative design of “Yemelya” vehicles proved to be efficient and resilient, perfectly fit to tackle unpredictable ever changing conditions of the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean. Until now civil and military aviation had been the primary if not only mode of transportation for staff and equipment in the Arctic research. Capabilities of aviation in this capacity is greatly limited by two factors: the weather conditions and the high costs. The other alternative to aviation is of course vessels, however, the waters of the Arctic can only be navigated about three months per year, which limits the capability of marine transportation in the region to an even greater extent. “Yemelya” vehicles are the new, capable and effective alternative to traditionally primary Arctic research vehicle – helicopter. Unlike the helicopter, however, “Yemelya|” can be deployed in any weather conditions and as such is valuable and essential vehicle that can assure uninterrupted, reliable transportation, communication and supply between remote communities of the far North as well as the remote bases and outposts in the Arctic.
“Yemelya” can become essential vehicle for the scientific expeditions exploring the Arctic seabed, it can be an invaluable transportation for the northern communities as well as an irreplaceable instrument in the work of the search and rescue services in the North.
Yet another unique aspect of the “Yemelya” vehicles, according to their designer, creator and the expedition leader – Vasily Elagin – is that, unlike caterpillar equipped off-road vehicles, Yemelya’s large, low pressure tires tread so lightly even on the most ecologically sensitive and vulnerable terrain of tundra that they leave virtually no marks.
This expedition successfully reinforced Russia’s leadership in Arctic exploration and proved “Yemelya” to be the perfect off road vehicle for transportation over tundra terrains as well as both – frozen landmass, as well as live shifting ice floes of the Arctic Ocean.