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Media Advisory 05-010

NSF Invites Media to Participate in Two Research Cruises to the Arctic Ocean

May 20, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting written requests from professional journalists to participate in two research cruises in the Arctic Ocean this summer. Despite advances in oceanography in the past century, scientists know more about the nature and origins of the surface of the moon than they do about the make up of the Arctic sea floor. Scientists with the Healy-Oden Trans-Arctic Expedition (HOTRAX) hope to learn more about how the Arctic Ocean basin formed, the nature and physical characteristics of the ocean itself and the Arctic's role in climate change.

Journalists may apply to be accommodated on one of two separate cruises:

During a short cruise in June off the Chukchi Shelf northwest of Alaska, scientists will take sediment cores that will serve as a benchmark for samples of the Arctic paleoclimate record taken later in the summer.

During a longer cruise in August, an international group of about 75 scientists and technicians will conduct a variety of investigations, including mapping the sea floor, taking cores of the upper 80 feet of sea floor sediments, deep seismic exploration to determine how the ocean basin formed, and studies of ice and of the water column.

Climate research has important implications for the climate change worldwide because its effects tend to appear in the Arctic before showing up in more temperate regions.

This cruise will be only the second crossing ever made of the central Arctic Ocean by two surface ships, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and the Oden, a Swedish research icebreaker. The cruise track is expected to take the ships over the North Pole.

Application Deadline: Applications must be received no later than May 28, 2005.

U.S. media receive preference in selection.

Application: Applicants must submit no more than the equivalent of two typed pages detailing why they wish to cover this cruise and the audiences they reach. A selection committee of Arctic program science and logistics personnel, HOTRAX researchers and media officers from NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) will review all proposals and select the finalists. The committee looks for proposals that indicate an understanding of the nature and challenges of NSF's scientific enterprise in the Arctic and the desire to communicate that understanding to the public.

Proposals from print, television, and radio journalists, as well as from online news operations, are welcome. U.S. mass media that primarily serve language-minority audiences are strongly encouraged to apply.

Costs: Reporters or their employers pay for round-trip transportation to--and accommodations in--Barrow, Alaska, for the first cruise in June. Reporters or their employers pay for round-trip transportation to--and accommodations in--Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and return travel from Tromso, Norway, for the second cruise in August and September. NSF furnishes cold-weather clothing solely for use in the field, as well as housing, transportation and food while on the mission, at no cost to the reporters.

How To Apply: Contact NSF (by phone or by e-mail) as soon as possible to express interest. Freelance journalists must supply on their prospective employer's letterhead evidence of a firm commitment to publish or air their work.

Send the letter and any supporting materials (such as a limited number of clips or videotaped segments) to:

National Science Foundation
Office of Legislative and Public Affairs
4201 Wilson Blvd., suite 1245
Arlington, VA 22230
ATTN: Dena Headlee


Media Contacts
Dena Headlee, NSF, (703) 292-7739, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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