In 2003, we decided to assess a new platform for doing Arctic geomarine research. This decision was based upon our previous experience, which had shown that in many aspects there was no real substitute for actually spending extended periods of time on the ice. However, our cumulative experience on drifting ice stations indicated a need for greater economy, mobility, and especially survivable comfort. No more establishing an ice camp by icebreaker or aircraft with the hope that the constant drift of the ice would offer worthwhile targets for geophysical investigation and sampling. No more expensive aircraft or helicopters to give mobility at the whim of the generally inclement weather over a short spring season. And no more agonizing over competing demands on icebreaker cruises when half the scientists want to continue making underway measurements while the others want to lower other scientific equipment.

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