Expedition 2019 "It is important for people everywhere on Earth to see and understand how this region affects all of us."

Proposed 18-day cruise track for the 2019 NPP expedition.

Sailing into the Northwest Passage will provide a visually stunning and historically poignant platform from which the public will experience a dramatically changing Arctic. This project is designed to produce innovative scientific observations. The Icebreaker Oden will spend most of its time at sea, with stops on land along the way.

Why are we exploring the Arctic now?

“It is important for people everywhere on Earth to see and understand how this region affects all of us,” says NPP principal investigator and project director Gail Scowcroft. “The region’s meltwater, water circulation, and exchange of greenhouse gases between the ocean and the atmosphere are causing wide-scale environmental and climatic changes, which increasingly affect people and wildlife diversity around the world.” Scowcroft also serves as Associate Director of the Inner Space Center, which will be coordinating all science communications.

Inner Space Center's mission control room.

Scientists in the Inner Space Center’s mission control room communicate in realtime with exploration vessels at sea.

The Inner Space Center (ISC), an international hub for ocean exploration, will use advanced technologies such as telepresence to explore the Arctic. A warming climate and subsequent ice melting has opened up the Northwest Passage during the summer months, profoundly changing the Arctic, and increasing access to the area. There is unprecedented global interest in conducting research in this once inaccessible region and its pristine environment.

Explore the Arctic with us

The Inner Space Center’s live ship-to-shore video will make it possible for the public to experience the expedition in real time. Join the expedition via:

Photo of two explorers Fort Ross, Nunavut, Canada, by Ken Burton

Arctic explorers at Fort Ross, Nunavut, Canada. © Ken Burton

The expedition participants

Along with the ship’s crew, scientists, education professionals, and students will sail through the Northwest Passage. Students will receive science instruction as the ship is underway, participate in live broadcasts from sea, and work alongside ocean scientists as they conduct Arctic research. Learn more about the Northwest Passage Project expedition team.

Onboard participants will also include the ship’s crew, ISC education and operations staff, scientists, historians, journalists, and members of the David Clark Inc. film production team.

Expedition itinerary

  • July 17: Depart Thule, Greenland
  • July 20: Arrive Pond Inlet, Canada
  • July 21: Depart Pond Inlet, Sail through Lancaster Sound to Barrow Strait
  • July 26: Arrive Resolute
  • July 26: Sail west to Melville Sound
  • July 29: Sail east to Barrow Strait
  • July 31: Sail south into Prince Regent Sound
  • August 4: Arrive Thule, Greenland

The history of exploration in the Arctic

Finding a “northwest passage” – a northern water route shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – has been the obsessive quest of explorers and navies for at least 400 years. Thousands of mariners have sailed into the Arctic to probe its waters and trek its shores. These explorers lacked reliable maps, a firm understanding of Arctic conditions, and sophisticated scientific instrumentation. Today we can rely upon advances in all three areas.

photo of Antarctica -Oden the Ice Breaker, c Eli Duke at sea

Antarctica -Oden the Ice Breaker, c Eli Duke

Collaborating on Arctic exploration

The Northwest Passage Project is a collaborative effort between the University of Rhode Island (URI), Inner Space Center (ISC), the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO), the film company, David Clark, Inc., and several other collaborators, including five U.S. universities that are classified as Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Learn more about us.