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Screwing across the Bering Strait
On April 7, 2002 a couple of hardy adventurers became the first to drive a strange looking land-based vehicle from Alaska to Russia across the treacherous 56 mile / 90 km stretch of floating ice and open water that makes up the Bering Strait.
Conditions were so dangerous that the world's ultimate all terrain vehicle had to be designed for the Ice Challenger journey. It had to float on water, motor through crushed ice, motor on solid ice, and climb out of water onto ice.
In the 1960s, when the Russians needed a vehicle to retrieve cosmonauts landing in Arctic Siberia, they came up with the idea of an Archimedes screw propulsion system - two screws that counter-rotate against each other so that the vehicle can be "screwed" across the ground.
That was a good start for "Snowbird 6", but it had to be stronger and faster. Ice on the Bering Sea moves at about 3 miles / 5 km per hour, so if the vehicle didn't move quickly, it would be swept backwards.
Click pictures for more information and credits.
Links: How Things Work
Cold Places, Arctic
News Story: A Drive Across the Bering Sea
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
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