Amelia Rose Earhart joins board of The Exploration Museum

Amelia Rose Earhart
Amelia Rose Earhart

Aviatrix, adventurer, around the world pilot and a great friend of the Exploration Museum, Amelia Rose Earhart, has joined the board of the Exploration Museum. She joins the board of our new US based museum non-profit, along with adventurer Mike Dunn and museum founder Orly Orlyson.

Named by the Jaycees as one of the “Top Ten Young Americans”, Amelia Rose Earhart recreated and symbolically completed the 1937 flight of her namesake, Amelia Mary Earhart. Her 28,000 mile flight around the world in a single engine aircraft became a symbol of determination, courage and empowerment for anyone who has ever decided to seek new horizons. Piloting the Pilatus PC-12NG through fourteen countries over the course of eighteen days, Amelia spent two years planning her journey, all to honor the 1937 around the world flight attempt of the first Amelia Earhart.

“The Exploration Museum represents the pioneering spirit in all of us, serving as an inspirational launch pad for ideas big and small. Through the passionate devotion of the Exploration Museum team, visitors are transported to the cosmos without ever leaving the ground,” Earhart says.

While preparing for her flight, Amelia learned that she and her family did not share the genealogical connection to Earhart, but stayed the course, knowing that in order to be related to someone we admire, we simply need to relate to how they live their lives, treat others and pursue their dreams.

Outside of the cockpit, Amelia is a television journalist on Denver’s NBC affiliate, KUSA-TV reporting on breaking news and traffic, as well as anchoring noon newscasts for all of Colorado. Amelia is also a member of the Board of Directors at Wings Over the Rockies, Colorado’s Official Air and Space Museum. A commercially rated instrument pilot, she is now pursuing her multi-engine aircraft rating.

Fortune 500 Companies, The United States Air Force Academy, dozens of Universities and Civic Organizations, just to name a few, have been impacted and thousands have been jolted awake by Amelia’s contagious enthusiasm for action, her raw and charming leadership style and her ability to take audiences along on their own flight around the world with her story. Amelia is a keynote speaker teaching audiences how to Learn To Love The Turbulence; and is currently preparing for her 2019 book launch under the same title. You can learn more about Amelia at her website.

2015 Leif Erikson Exploration Awards

Icelandic president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson presents Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt with the 2015 Leif Erikson Exploration Award. (Photo: Exploration Museum / Andri Marino)

American Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Australian around the world sailor Jessica Watson and British exploration historian Dr. Huw Lewis-Jones have been awarded the Leif Erikson Exploration Awards by The Exploration Museum. The museum is located in the town of Húsavík on the northern coast of Iceland, thirty miles from the Arctic Circle. It is dedicated to the history of human exploration, from the early explorers to the exploration of space. The awards were announced this week at a press conference at the museum.

The Leif Erikson Exploration Award
Awarded to an explorer for a recent or a lifetime achievement in the field of exploration.

Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt

For his scientific work on the surface of the Moon in 1972, and for his part in the geology training of all the astronauts that walked on the Moon before him, astronaut Harrison Schmitt is awarded The Leif Erikson Exploration Award.

As the lunar module pilot of Apollo 17, he became the 12th and final Apollo astronaut to set foot on the Moon. As a geologist, he is the only professional scientist to have walked on the Moon, and the only scientist to have flown beyond low Earth orbit.

The Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award
Awarded to an explorer under the age of 35 for great achievements in exploration.

Jessica Watson
Jessica Watson

Australian sailor Jessica Watson is awarded The Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award for her 210-day voyage around the world, from October 2009 to May 2010. When she arrived back in Sydney on May 15, she became the youngest person to have completed a non-stop and unassisted southern hemisphere solo circumnavigation, at the age of 16. An inspiration to both young people and adults around the world, Jessica does regular talks about exploration and her voyage. She tells her story in the book True Spirit.

The Leif Erikson Exploration History Award
Awarded to a person or an organization that has worked to promote and preserve exploration history.

Huw Lewis-Jones
Huw Lewis-Jones

For his commitment to the history of exploration, polar guide Dr. Huw Lewis-Jones is awarded the Leif Erikson Exploration History Award. The author of many acclaimed books, his work has been published in more than a dozen languages. His heritage activity and writings on visual culture, photography and film, seafaring, mountaineering, and remote environments has earned his subjects wide international attention. His next book, Across the Arctic Ocean, is published this year by Thames & Hudson in London and New York.

Risk and Luck

Risk-and-luck-Mark-ArmstrongThe Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs were deeply complex and continuous exercises in risk management. To accomplish so much, in less than a decade, took ingenuity, strong scientific discipline, a relentless test regimen, great personal sacrifice on the part of thousands and no small amount of luck.

Luck was certainly with Apollo 11, and my father was fortunate enough to spend over 2 hours on the surface of the Moon — and much of that time was spent gathering lunar samples — a task that required a substantial amount of geological training and knowledge that he received here in Iceland among other places.

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Apollo astronauts revisit training area in Iceland and explore a new lava flow

Astronauts and the family of Neil Armstrong at Drekagil Canyon
The astronauts and Armstrong family traveled in an original Mercedes Benz bus from the company that took care of the transport in 1965 and 1967. The driver this time is the grandson of the driver on the original field excursions. (Photo: Völundur)

Fifty years ago this month, a group of Apollo astronauts arrived in Iceland for a week of geology training. A second field trip was made in 1967. For two weeks in July 2015, astronauts from these groups have again spent time in Iceland, revisiting the same training areas and other natural phenomena found on the island, located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.

During this latest visit to Iceland, the astronauts also got the chance to explore the new lava flow at Holuhraun, the site of a volcanic eruption which began on 29 August 2014, lasted for some six months and produced a lava flow of more than 33 square miles, the largest in Iceland since 1783.

It was very special to be back in Iceland after all these years.  Hard to believe; half a century has passed!  It was a great reminder of the wonderful friendly people of Iceland, somewhat typified by the fact that our hosts had gotten hold of the very same old Mercedes bus that had carted us out to the remote geologic sites 50 years before… and employed it to do so again!  Not only that, but the very capable and informative bus driver was the grandson of the bus driver we had 50 years ago. Now that’s not only interesting, but mindful!”
– Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 Astronaut

Walter Cunningham and Rusty Schweickart at the training area in the Icelandic highlands (Photo: Völundur)
Walter Cunningham and Rusty Schweickart at the training area in the Icelandic highlands (Photo: Völundur)

Harrison Schmitt who explored the lunar surface during the Apollo 17 mission arrived in Iceland on July 5 and a week later, Walter Cunningham of Apollo 7 and Rusty Schweickart of Apollo 9 arrived with their wives. They were joined by NASA astrogeologist Dr. Jim Rice and the family of the late lunar explorer Neil Armstrong.

“I have walked on the moon a second time,” Harrison Schmitt said, smiling to the group after walking on the new lava flow, still to be explored in detail.

Neil Armstrong's grandchildren unveil the Astronaut Monument in Húsavík. (Photo: Gaukur)
Neil Armstrong’s grandchildren unveil the Astronaut Monument in Húsavík. (Photo: Gaukur)
Mark Armstrong, speaking at the unveiling of the Astronaut Monument in Húsavík. (Photo: Hafþór)
Mark Armstrong, speaking at the unveiling of the Astronaut Monument in Húsavík. (Photo: Hafþór)

The trip was organized by The Exploration Museum in the town of Húsavík, Northern Iceland. On July 15th, the grandchildren of Neil Armstrong, Kyle, Bryce, Lily, Oks­ana, Andrew, and Kali, unveiled a monument outside the museum, honoring the 32 astronauts that trained in Iceland in 1965 and 1967, seven of which later later walked on the Moon. Last week, during a visit to the training area at Nautagil in the Northeastern highlands of Iceland, Armstrong’s grandchildren also got the chance to play the Moon-game, a game developed by the geology instructors to get the competitive astronauts who usually look towards the skies, to look down at the surface geology.

Apollo 17 moonwalker Harrison Schmitt on the new lava of Holuhraun.
Apollo 17 moonwalker Harrison Schmitt on the new lava of Holuhraun. (Photo: Helga)

The museum had previously been visited by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders and SkyLab and Space shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott.

The expedition to the Icelandic highlands and the Holuhraun lava flow was led by geophysicist and polar explorer Ari Trausti Guðmundsson and The Exploration Museum director Örlygur Hnefill Örlygsson.

See also:
Apollo astronaut training in Iceland 1965 & 1967

In this video: Neil Armstrong's grandchildren, Kyle, Bryce, Lily, Oks­ana, Andrew and Kali, unveil the Astronaut Monument in Húsavík on July 15, 2015. In all, 32 NASA astronauts were sent to Iceland in 1965 and 1967 to study geology as part of the Apollo program.

Photos by Völundur Jónsson, Helga Kvam, Gaukur Hjartarson and Hafþór Hreiðarsson.

Neil Armstrong on the North Pole

On April 6, 1985, Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mt. Everest, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, Steve Fossett, the first to fly a balloon around the world, Patrick Morrow, the first to climb the highest peaks of all seven continents, and a few others, stood together on the North Pole. The trip was organized by explorer and adventurer Mike Dunn.

Photographed here from left to right: Peter Hillary, Sir Edmund Hillary, Mike Dunn and Neil Armstrong.

Apollo 8: First broadcast from the Moon

The Apollo 8 mission in December 1968 was a bright spot at the end of an otherwise bleak year in American history. After riots and the assassinations of MLK and RFK, people watched in awe as the three astronauts broadcast the first live pictures from the moon. The astronauts also captured astonishing photographs which revealed the fragility and isolation of our planet. The most famous, Earthrise by Bill Anders, has become one of history’s most influential images.

Apollo 8 took three days to travel to the Moon. It orbited ten times over the course of 20 hours. The crew made two television broadcasts. At the time, these broadcasts were the most watched TV programs ever.

Borman, Lovell and Anders made the second television broadcast at 55 hours into the flight. In it, the crew would broadcast the first television pictures of the Earth.

Lunar Module Pilot Bill Anders, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Commander Frank Borman — the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit, the first to see Earth as a whole planet, the first to see to the Moon and then the first to directly see the far side of the Moon.
Lunar Module Pilot Bill Anders, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Commander Frank Borman — the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit, the first to see Earth as a whole planet, the first to see to the Moon and then the first to directly see the far side of the Moon.

Documentary: The Lost Vikings

The west coast of Greenland was the site of a thriving Viking colony for hundreds of years. Originally settled by explorers who had bravely sailed across the treacherous North Atlantic from their homes in Scandinavia, the Greenland outpost grew into a farming community of thousands. And then something went terribly wrong. Visitors in the 1400s reported that the inhabitants had simply vanished, leaving no bodies and few clues about what could have happened.

Speculation has long centered on suddenly adverse weather conditions or possibly a war with local Inuit people, but in this documentary, an installment of PBS’s Secrets of the Dead set, a team of archaeologists, forensic anthropologists, and botanists visit a desolate and remote stretch of the Greenland coast and solve the mystery of the lost Vikings.

The race to the South Pole

Race to the South Pole

Norwegians led by Roald Amundsen arrived in Antarctica’s Bay of Whales on January 14, 1911. With dog teams, they prepared to race the British to the South Pole. Amundsen’s ship, Fram, loaned by renowned Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen, was the elite polar vessel of her time.

Photo from the National Library of Norway

Documentary: The Kon-Tiki Expedition

Thor Heyerdahl gained worldwide fame when he crossed the Pacific Ocean on Kon-Tiki in 1947. He followed this up with spectacular expeditions on the reed boats Ra and Tigris. His recreations of prehistoric voyages showed that early man had mastered sailing before the saddle and wheel were invented. His reputation as a scientist was consolidated through his archaeological excavations on the fabled, mysterious Easter Island. Curiosity was Thor Heyerdahl’s driving force.