Smarter in 60 Sec­onds: Ice­break­ers

iD magazine - - Contents -

If an ice­breaker grinds to a halt on the Antarc­tic ice, there’s usu­ally only one chance for sal­va­tion: call­ing in a colos­sus with more horsepower at its dis­posal for help. In De­cem­ber 2013, when the Chi­nese ice­breaker Xue Long got stuck while at­tempt­ing to free a Rus­sian re­search ves­sel, China and Rus­sia called on the U.S. for as­sis­tance. In re­sponse a true spe­cial­ist was de­ployed: Po­lar Star. The 399-foot-long U.S. Coast Guard heavy ice­breaker is con­sid­ered to be the most pow­er­ful non– nu­clear pow­ered ice­breaker in the world: With its 75,000 shaft horsepower it can break through ice up to 20 feet thick and ex­tri­cate ships from even the most hope­less sit­u­a­tions— from fi shing cut­ters right on up to ice­break­ers.

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