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  Tuesday, February 25, 2020
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Russian explorer Valentin Yefremov has successfully completed his expedition to the Arctic
Russian explorer Valentin Yefremov has successfully completed his expedition to the Arctic, Yevgeni Yonas, President of the Arctic Projects Foundation, told a Moscow press conference Thursday. Yefremov's Arctic expedition is unique in that for the first time ever, he and his companions have been able to reach the North Pole by balloon. The man says that traveling to the Arctic on a balloon has been a long-standing ambition of his. And it was with this ambition in mind that he went to study at an international school of aeronautics. In 1999, he set out on a pilot trip to the North. "Everyone said it was unrealistic. But I managed to get as far as the Cape Vysoki. Upon return, I planned on a flight to the North Pole." Findings of the Yefremov-led expedition may have significant value for scientific research. Geographer Alim Zalikhanov, invited to join in as adviser for science, reported that it had been prepared in conjunction with the Moscow University Department of Geography and that while in the Arctic, he and his colleagues had collected quite a lot of scientifically valuable material, including ice samples and detailed documentation of wildlife sightings. The balloon expedition to the Arctic is seen as an unprecedented achievement, and may go down in the Guinness Book of Records, the organizers say. Yefremov's team was able to cover the 1,100-kilometer distance between the Sredni Island and the North Pole, via Cape Arktichesky (in the archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya) in just forty-one days. Their trip was timed to coincide with the 60th V-E anniversary and the 250th anniversary of the Lomonosov University of Moscow. Preparatory work had taken more than fifteen years to complete.
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