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.

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.

Hidden rain-forest discovered on Google

Dr. Julian Bayliss at Mount Mabu. Photo by FFI
Dr. Julian Bayliss at Mount Mabu. Photo by FFI

“If you close your eyes and think about exploration, what images are conjured up in your mind? A Victorian gentleman perhaps, bedecked with khaki overalls, explorer’s hat and an extravagant moustache. You probably would not imagine someone sitting at a computer, intently focused on Google Earth,” Sarah Rakowski from Fauna & Flora writes on the organization’s website. But as it turns out, that is exactly how the forest on Mount Mabu, Mozambique, was discovered.

Discovered in 2005 and often referred to as the Google forest, this giant rain-forest in the mountainous north of Mozambique was known only to local villagers; it did not feature on maps nor, it is believed, in scientific collections or literature.

Using Google Earth, Dr. Julian Bayliss discovered the hidden rain-forest and more than a dozen new plant and animal species. But for Dr. Bayliss and the Fauna & Flora organization, the journey is far from over. Their team is currently working together with the government in Mozambique to create a long term conservation strategy that will protect Mount Mabu and benefit the local community.

Apollo astronaut training in Iceland

Astronaut Bill Anders training in Iceland in 1967.
Astronaut Bill Anders training in Iceland in 1967.

In 1965 and 1967, two groups of Apollo astronauts traveled to Iceland to study geology. Among the astronauts in the 1967 group were Neil Armstrong and Bill Anders. Bill was on the crew of Apollo 8, the first flight to and around the Moon. Neil was the first man to walk on the Moon.

Learn more:
– Geology training of Apollo astronauts in Iceland
– 2015 re-visit of Apollo astronauts to Iceland