The Tara research expedition sailing yacht enters the Northwest Passage on Sept. 27, 2013.
Credit: V.Hilaire/Tara Expéditions
With help from a Canadian icebreaker, a research ship exploring the Arctic Ocean crossed the frozen Northwest Passage on Sept. 28. The escort keeps the expedition on track for its 7-month Arctic journey, according the Tara blog. The iced-over Northwest Passage — the first time it's frozen shut since 2007 — meant researchers aboard Tara were considering waiting through the winter at a northern port or retracing their path next year, the blog said.
The Tara sailing yacht has already spent several months plying the polar seas, sampling plankton and studying the Arctic ecosystem. The expedition's scientific goals include monitoring pollution and looking at how melting ice affects marine life. The voyage began on May 19 from Lorient, France. The position of the boat can be followed on Google Earth.