On May 3, 1952 American Air Force Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher and Lieutenant Colonel William P. Benedict successfully landed an aircraft at the North Pole. Moments after the C-47 landed, Fletcher walked to the exact geographic North Pole. Navy Admiral Robert E. Peary is thought to be the first person to reach the North Pole in 1909, although this is surrounded in controversy. The submarine USS Nautilus would be the first ship to cruise under the North Pole in 1958.
The geographic North Pole is the fixed point where the Earth’s axis of rotation meets its surface in the Northern Hemisphere. On a map, all lines of longitude stretch from the North Pole to the South Pole. 
The North Pole is about 724 kilometers (450 miles) north of the island of Greenland. It is located on a shifting ice pack in the Arctic Ocean, meaning there is no actual land beneath the 10- to 16-meter (6- to 10-foot) thick mass of ice. In the winter, this ice pack grows dramatically. At its height, it reaches the size of the continental United States. In the summer, nearly half of the ice disappears. The North Pole experiences six months of complete sunlight and six months of total darkness each year. 

vehicle able to travel and operate above the ground.


an invisible line around which an object spins.

continental United States

U.S. land continuously stretching from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans (not including the states of Alaska and Hawaii.)


disagreement or debate.


distance east or west of the prime meridian, measured in degrees.

Northern Hemisphere

half of the Earth between the North Pole and the Equator.


fixed point that, along with the South Pole, forms the axis on which the Earth spins.

pack ice

large ice formation in seawater, pushed together by currents and winds.


object's complete turn around its own axis.


vehicle that can travel underwater.

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