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On the Top of the World

Nature volume 141, pages 995996 (04 June 1938) | Download Citation



THE acclaim which greets a polar expedition is too often measured by the accidents with which it has been beset, and nothing gives greater popularity than disaster. But the Soviet expedition to the North Pole gained no fame on these grounds. It was the sheer audacity of the venture that brought it to notice. The use of aeroplanes in polar exploration was not new ; many daring and successful flights had already been made in both arctic and antarctic regions. But so far no party of explorers had voluntarily submitted to living on the floating pack-ice with no obvious line of retreat. Here was no hurried journey across the sea-ice, but a stay of uncertain duration on a floe of uncertain stability and unknown destination. It was not, however, a reckless project, for certain movements of the arctic pack were known and could be anticipated, and aeroplanes and icebreakers were all the time held in readiness for the rescue.

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