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The Transglobal Car Expedition reached the North Pole

April 10th, 2024

On Saturday 6 April 2024, at 20:30 UTC (22:30 CEST), the Transglobal Car Expedition (of which geneveMonde.ch is a partner) successfully reached the Geographic North Pole at 90°N, the first major milestone on its long journey around the world. This remarkable achievement follows four months of travelling across continents, highlighting the dedication, resilience and unwavering spirit of the team.

The Transglobal Car Expedition is a pioneering initiative that is redefining the boundaries of exploration on wheels. The team set off north from New York on 10 January 2024, embarking on an impressive journey to circle the Earth. During the expedition, the team crossed the North and South Poles, before returning to New York from the south more than 18 months later.

The team has now completed the most northerly leg of its journey. "Passing the North Pole is the most difficult stage of our expedition," says Vasily Shakhnovskiy, expedition leader. "Our final approach involved a full day's journey, with 43.6 km to cover before reaching our parking point at 90°N. Now that we've arrived, it's a bit euphoric. This achievement marks the culmination of years of planning and perseverance".

Their arrival at the North Pole is not just a geographical conquest, but also a scientific one. Thanks to the CosmicPi 'Nansen' detector, the Transglobal team has recorded data on cosmic rays at the North Pole", explains James Devine, the CERN engineer who developed the CosmicPi detectors. Etam Noah, CosmicPi scientist, said, "These are the first ever historical measurements of cosmic rays at this latitude and will help researchers understand these unique particles." The measurements were taken on cosmic ray detectors built at CERN using open hardware, specially adapted to withstand the extreme environmental conditions at the North Pole. The Transglobal team is committed to measuring cosmic rays throughout its expedition, in order to provide valuable information about these particles at all latitudes encountered.

During its journey, the expedition also benefited from cutting-edge satellite technology. Several satellite systems, first ESA's Sentinel-1 and then, at higher latitudes, only ASI's COSMO-SkyMed, provided Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images along the expedition's route to help it make the very difficult and dangerous crossing of the Arctic Sea. Thanks to E-Geos, which was responsible for programming COSMO-SkyMed's acquisitions, images were provided on a daily basis to help plot the best route through the drifting ice.

These important collaborations not only enabled the team to monitor ice conditions and navigate safely through this remote region, but also provided crucial data on ice thickness, making a significant contribution to our understanding of polar dynamics and climate change. In addition, the team carried out in situ measurements of ice thickness. "This historic record of ice thickness at the North Pole underlines the crucial need for in situ measurements to understand Arctic ice dynamics," says Christian Haas (AWI, Alfred Wegener Institute). "While satellite monitoring provides valuable information, the scarcity and uncertainties surrounding ice thickness data prevent the compilation of coherent data sets. The measurements taken by the Transglobal team remain the gold standard, providing invaluable validation for aerial and satellite observations."

The journey to the North Pole represents the culmination of five years of perseverance and dedication. Despite a global pandemic and logistical challenges, the team's unwavering determination, fuelled by the exceptional quality of its members, led to this remarkable achievement. Mr Shakhnovskiy expressed his deep gratitude to the team and those who supported them, saying: "The reason we persevered through all the obstacles is the exceptional quality of the people who make up our team, both at the North Pole and around the world. Your dedication and support have been invaluable. While the team is resting and regrouping at the North Pole, preparations are already underway for the next stage of their journey. With timing becoming increasingly crucial, plans to speed up the delivery of essential supplies and sail to Greenland are rapidly being implemented.

Follow the remarkable journey of the Transglobal Car Expedition as they continue to push the boundaries of scientific exploration and discovery. Keep up to date with their progress and ground-breaking research by visiting: transglobalcar.com

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