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First Ship to "End the the Earth"

The first surface vessel to reach the North Pole was the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika (the name is from a Nenets word meaning "End of the Earth").

Sailing from Murmansk, it plowed its way through the ice, and reached the North Pole on August 17, 1977.

The Arktika was the second nuclear-powered icebreaker built by the Soviet Union (now Russia). Built in Leningrad, it was launched in 1975 and was designed to operate in the sea routes of the Northeast Passage. The North Pole expedition was described as a "scientific-practical experimental voyage" to test the new icebreaker in conditions that were more extreme than it would ordinarily encounter.

The trip to the Pole was not repeated for another decade, but since the 1980s, the voyage has become popular with tourists who can now travel in great comfort to the "top of the world".

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