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Education: Who Explored Antarctica?

BY: Anne Madden | Category: Travel | Submitted: 2010-03-13 21:52:47
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Article Summary: "Returning from the South Pole in 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott suffered a horrible death. He and his fellow travelers perished due to the extremely cold temperatures as well as the lack of food..."

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In 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott was making the long trek back from the South Pole, when he and his companions met their doom. His friends also perished due to starvation and hypothermia. In the wake of his agonizing loss in the race to the South Pole, and his enhanced standing as a hero of the country, Captain Scott showed unwaivering strength as he confronted his death.

After many years of study, we can now understand the vast dangers that explorers faced while trekking the vast Antarctic continent. During the winter the temperature can become as low as -90? celsius with the wind becoming as fiece as 67 hm an hour. Scott would have faced conditions such as these, with unfortunately an insufficient knowledge about the continent's real dangers.

Scott worked as a scientist in the Polar Regions, and the letters that he had written to his wife are filled with his overwhelming sense of seclusion. Even today, scientists that work in the region agree with the extreme isolation, despite the availability of vastly superior methods of communication. Scott's death made his wife a widow and single mother to her young son.

His body and letters written for his wife weren't discovered until many months after he died. He was a mere 11 miles distant from his supply camp. Word of Scott's death was sent to his widow in New Zealand, where she had been anxiously awaiting his return.

Historians can learn much by reading the Scott's letters to his wife. They begin by describing a man in excellent shape, who took pleasure in a good hot meal. The cold didn't seem to be a problem, as the hot food made up for the bitter cold.

The mood of the letters changed, though, as the journey progressed and the food supply started to dwindle. He explains the temperature dropping, then continuing to drop more without relief. He and his men were only able to consume one hot meal with two days of cold food in order to move another 11 miles.

Scott was not a newbie to the exploration field, however he had two strikes against him. Scott came in second in his quest for Antarctica to a Norwegian named Roald Amundsen. Scott made his appearance on January 18, 1912, while Amundsen had already been there on December 21, 1911.

Prior to undertaking his final expedition, Scott was considered a national hero for his invasion of Antarctica between 1902 and 1904. Dr. Edward Wilson and Lieutenant Henry Bowers accompanied Scott. All three men grasped at hopes of survival. Two others, Captain Lawrence Oats and Petty Officer Edgar Evans, had already succumbed to the cold.

The expedition packed away supplies when they were only twenty miles from a storage area. There was scarcely any fuel or food left. Scott then told his wife in a letter that she could find a new husband in the event of his death. In the same letter, he wrote of temps reaching negative 70, and only a tent to provide protection.

In his last written words he conveyed no sorrow, and expressed no qualms regarding his choice to take the trek that would inevitable claim his life. Instead, he said it far outweighed relaxing at home. Many British youngsters have learned a lot and have been inspired by the story of Scott's journey.

Roald Amundsen beat Captain Robert Scott's team to the South Pole by several weeks. He passed away March 29, 1912. "Scott's Last Expedition" is the book that was published in 1913, and it is Scott's personal journal.

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