The North Pole can now be circumnavigated!
For the first time in human history, the North Pole can now be circumnavigated. Images gathered by NASA show that the North-west passage opened last weekend and that the last blockage on the north-eastern one – a tongue of ice stretching down to Russia across Siberia's Laptev Sea – dissolved a few days later. Already, shipping companies are looking forward to exploiting the new passageway, with the Beluga Group in Germany announcing that it will sail the north-east passage to Japan next year. "It's very different from in the past when you had a low year and you tended to rebound. We haven't been doing that anymore," says Julienne Stroeve, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado. Of course, some are more immediately effected than others.