The floating research station “North Pole 38” has been drifting eastwards from the Wrangel Island area since October 2010, and is now about to be replaced. The icebreaker “Rossiya” sets out from Murmansk on Friday to pick up the 16 scientists and all their equipment and gear, RIA Novosti reports.
During the same expedition, “Rossiya” will look for a suitable ice floe to place the next station, the “North Pole 39”.
The first scientific drifting ice station in the world, “North Pole-1” was established in May 1937. Since 1954 Soviet “NP” stations worked continuously, with one to three such stations operating simultaneously each year, according to Wikipedia. In the post-Soviet era, Russian exploration of the Arctic by drifting ice stations was suspended for twelve years, and was resumed in 2003.