1928 Airship Italia

25.05.1928 After completing two successful scientific expedition in the Arctic regions, Airship Italia crashed on the pack about 120 km northeast of Nordaustlandet, Svalbard (81°14 N 28°14 E), on its return journey from the first airborne circling of the North Pole.

Nine survivors and one fatality were left on the floating ice, and six more crew trapped in the still drifting airship envelope. The envelope and the crew members aboard it have never been found. After nine decades, our team will pioneer the search for the wreck of this historic aircraft in the North-West coast of the Spitsbergen archipelago, taking advantage of the lack of ice in the area of the wreck for the first time in centuries.

2018 Polarquest on board Nanuq

On the 90th anniversary of the Italia Airship crash, Nanuq, a 60-foot Grand Integral sailboat designed, built and skipped by Genevese architect Peter Gallinelli to sail in the polar region and withstand arctic winter in a self-sufficient mode will for the first time attempt at relocating the sunken wreck of Umberto Nobile’s Airship Italia, reaching and exploring for the first time the Airship Italia Geohack location, taking advantage of the melting ice in the region using ultralight resolution side-scan sonars.

Polar Exploration

On the same occasion, Nanuq will also attempt the complete circumnavigation of the entire Svalbard archipelago. (View Map)

Polar Drones

Evaluating the use of commercial low end minidrones, configured as a hardware/software system, as scientific tools for field research in Arctic locations. They will be used to collect, deposit and sample small fragments of rock, ice, snow, soil from the surface, as well as to acquire water samples at different depths. Survey flights will include typical missions such as oblique views, nadiral views, aero-photogrammetry, video acquisition, thermography, multispectral imagery acquisition. Surface contact flights will call for object collection from the surface (water samples, ice/snow samples, rock samples, small vegetation samples) or deployment of objects and instrumentation on the field. Samples will be collected from the sea, ice, snow and the atmosphere, the key parameters influencing global climate, in polar areas above 78 degrees latitude.

Expedition Timeline
Departure of Nanuq from Iceland July 8, 2018
Arrival Svalbard, Ny Alsund approx.. July 18
Nobile expedition from end of July to middle of August
Arrival Tromsö approx.. August 22