On August 2, 2007, three Russian explorers crammed inside a submersible underneath thick sea ice at the North Pole descended 4,300 meters to the dark seafloor below. They extended a robot arm from the pod and planted a titanium national flag in the sediment there. After surfacing to the supporting nuclear-powered icebreaker, expedition leader and parliament member Artur Chilingarov told an onboard reporter for the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, “If 100 or 1,000 years from now someone goes down to where we were, they will see the Russian flag.” President Vladimir Putin phoned the ship, expressing his congratulations.