October 27 1915
the Shackleton party officially left the Endurance, the newly constructed polar explorer ship, as it was crushed in the ice sheet in the Weddell Sea.
The loss was an end to Shackleton’s mission for a continental crossing, as their greater task was to reach the coast and get help from South Georgia. After a harrowing journey across ice and sea, they reached Elephant Island, 346 miles from the lost Endurance.
Five men set out in a long boat, sailing over 720 nautical Miles to reach South Georgia, to return to help to the rest of the crew stranded in Antarctica. The journey would be known as the Voyage of the James Caird. The ordeal was expertly photographed by Frank Hurley.
Four and a half months Shackleton was able to organize a rescue for the stranded party, and they returned to England as heroes.
Though no one perished in the Weddell Sea party, the party aboard the Aurora, who where responsible for setting catches on the other side of the continent, fell to their own hardships and lost three men. They where also rescued and returned to England, though their story is often unfortunately under shadowed by the Endurance party.
Though the expedition did not fulfill it’s intended purpose, the story’s of Shackelton’s men remain one of the most popular in Antarctic history.
December 14th 1911, Roald Amundsen’s expedition sets foot on the last uncharted location on earth; The South Pole.
July 20th 1969, Apollo 11 lands on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are the first to set foot outside of our blue planet.
Humanity reaches Mars…. ?
"The Martian" by Andy Weir is important because it sates humanities hunger for exploration like a home cooked meal, and reminds how important it is to pursue challenging, dangerous, and uncharted territories of discovery.
Harrowing stories of survival and new horizons are more than entertainment we crave; they are tests of our soul, elations of spirit, and reasons to keep learning.
“Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all.” – Ernest Shackleton.
Science Fiction isn’t just for nerds, it’s the frontier for the pursuit of knowledge, where questions can be asked and theories can be made before the technology, funding, and social acceptance exists. It promotes curiosity and discovery, asking the omnipotent question “Why?”
And more importantly, “Why not?”