Exploration

Venus — Planet Second-Closest to the Sun

02/27/2019

Updated on 07/13/2019

Venus is the planet second-closest to the the sun in our solar system and Earth’s nearest neighbor. The cloudy rocky planet orbits the sun at an average distance of 67,238,251 mi (108,209,475 km) at a mean orbital velocity of 78,339 mph (126,074 km/h). For us Earthlings, Venus also the second-brightest object in the night sky, with the first being the…read more

Louis Rudd — Second Person to Complete a Solo Traverse of Antarctica

01/06/2019

When it comes to polar exploration, history is the mother of all excursion. To close out 2018, Louis Rudd became the second person to complete a solo crossing of the continent of Antarctica. In what seems a repeat of the Shackleton/Amundsen race to the pole (that was a race to the pole and not a traversal of the continent), the…read more

Astronaut Alan Bean and His “Second” Career

05/29/2018

Updated on 10/09/2018

When Alan Bean retired from NASA and decided to become a full-time professional fine-art artist, he had to shed his aeronautical engineering and astronaut self to allow his inner artistic vision come through to the canvas. Not an easy task for the former Apollo 12 astronaut, one of only 12 men to have walked on the surface of the moon,…read more

The History of K2 — The World’s Second-Highest Mountain

02/22/2018

Updated on 01/27/2019

Attempts to summit K2 begin in Islamabad. From there you will spend a day driving in a rickety bus toward the town of Skardu on the dangerous Karakoram Highway (and they’re using the term “highway” VERY loosely here). You’ll probably have an armed guard wth your party because aside from the road itself being dangerous, there are people on it who…read more

Elite Polish K2 Climbers

01/28/2018

Updated on 10/08/2018

Last May, SM did a blog post on a team of mountain climbers from Poland who were going to attempt a winter ascent on K2, little did anyone know that those same climbers would end up being heroes. A multi-national climbing party was attempting to summit Nanga Parbat, the second-highest peak in Pakistan at 26,660ft (8,125m), and the ninth-highest mountain…read more

Laika the Space Dog

10/24/2017

Updated on 10/13/2018

Sputnik 1 was successfully launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, becoming the first artificial object to reach Earth orbit. Having been launched during the Cold War era, this tiny, beeping, ball-shaped satellite caused great concern among many paranoid red-scared Americans for whom the event was not so much a great moment of scientific achievement, but rather a disconcerting development…read more