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    TRANSARCTIC EXPEDITION SETS OFF FROM SIBERIA

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    SALEKHARD, APRIL 7. (RIA Novosti) -- On Wednesday, April 7, the international Trans-Arctic expedition Polar Circle sets off in Salekhard (port in the lower reaches of the Ob river, flowing into the Kara sea of the Arctic ocean), said the press service of the governor of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.

    For the first time in the history of Arctic expeditions, the round-the-world travel along the Arctic shoreline and through the North Pole will be made in unique off-road vehicles with low-pressure pneumatic tyres.

    There are twelve travellers coming from Russian and Belarussian cities.

    A set of research experiments prepared by the Lomonosov State University will be staged during the travel.

    Under the programme, researchers will describe and calculate the flora and fauna species they come across.

    The main goal of this expedition is to draw public attention to the problem of global warming. The Arctic ecosystem has proved to be especially vulnerable to climatic changes.

    The thawing of the permafrost, changing thickness and area of the ice cover put to jeopardy the wellbeing of the humans and animals whose habitat is in the Polar regions.

    The expedition's symbol is the Polar bear, a species that the global warming is making to change its habitat.

    Internet and television will cover the expedition's progress. With the help of the modern means of communication and Internet technologies it is expected to be shown live.

    For the first time in the history of Arctic exploration, every member of the expedition will wear on them miniature gages, that will the medics to monitor state of their health and, if need be, keep it up with the special means.

    During three months the travellers will cover about 9,000 kilometers, 3,000 of them in drifting ice.

    The head of the expedition, Vladimir Chukov, is sure that their go-anywhere machines are reliable, easy to drive and repair.

    The five-meter-long vehicles are of a singular design. Thanks to the superlow pressure in the tyres (0.3 atmosphere), full drive and independent suspension, the "Arctic tractor" with a 500-kilogremme trailer can float, get out of ice cracks and mount ice hummocks.

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