The incredible story of the balloon expedition to the North Pole

For obvious reasons, S. A. Andrée’s balloon polar expedition of 1897 seems foolhardy and doomed to failure in modern times. The aim was to cross over the North Pole in 43 hours in a hydrogen balloon then journey on to land, but it was the age of polar exploration, of new engineering marvels and with the financial support of the Swedish King Oscar II and Alfred Nobel anything must have appeared possible. But S. A. Andrée was a Swedish engineer, not a polar explorer, captivated by balloons since the Chicago…

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#February 14, 1779: Captain James Cook’s last adventure

Captain James Cook, the legendary British explorer, was savagely murdered on this day, February 14 (but in 1779!) after a confrontation with islanders at Hawaii who had mistaken him for a god. He discovered and charted New Zealand and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, since noted as one of the world’s most dangerous areas to navigate. His voyages around the world helped guide other explorers for generations and, in addition, he provided the first accurate map of the Pacific and many believe that he did more to fill the map of…

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