Yesterday, the US Coast Guard announced one of its ships made its way to the North Pole. It made history too. The US Coast Guard Cutter Healy became the first American surface ship to reach the North Pole alone.
The Arctic region is getting busier thanks to fast melting polar ice.
“As the Arctic region continues to open up to development, the data gathered on board Healy during this cruise will become ever more essential to understanding how the scientific processes of the Arctic work, and how to most responsibly exercise stewardship over the region,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
Healy’s current mission began on August 7th. Its primary goal is reaching the North Pole and supporting the GEOTRACES program. Healy is one of three separate ships operating in support of the Arctic GEOTRACES program.
“The crunch of breaking ice underneath the bow is audible throughout the entire ship. There is no ebb and flow to the movement, just an unstructured shaking as we pass through different layers of ice,” writes Katlin Bowman, a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
More than 80 Coast Guard members and 50 scientists reached the North Pole on September 5th.
It wasn’t all work. Dr. Bill Landing from Florida State University played some tunes at the top of the world.
Credit: Katlin Bowman
The Healy and its crew spent three days at the North Pole collecting samples to be analyzed.
The entire crew got together for a group photo before continuing their work.