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Zoom Explorers
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Africa Antarctica Arctic Australia Canada Mexico North America South America Space Undersea Women
1300's and Earlier 1400's Early 1500's Late 1500's 1600's 1700's 1800's 1900's Glossary of Exploration Terms

Explorers from the 1900's - the Twentieth Century

ALDRIN, EDWIN E., JR.
Buzz AldrinEdwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr. (1930- ) was the second man to walk on the moon. Also known as "Buzz" or "Dr. Rendezvous," Aldrin was the Lunar Module Pilot (July 16-24, 1969) on NASA's Apollo 11 mission. He and Neil Armstrong (the first man on the moon) were on the moon for about 2 hours, collecting rock samples and doing lunar surface experiments. Aldrin's first space mission was Gemini 12, which launched on November 11, 1966; he and Command Pilot James Lovell orbited Earth for 4 days. Aldrin has written many books about his life and his career as an astronaut.
AMUNDSEN, ROALD
Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) was a Norwegian polar explorer who was the first person to fly over the North Pole in a dirigible (May 11-13, 1926) and was the first person to reach the South Pole. Amundsen and his small expedition reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911, traveling by dog sled. Amundsen was also the first person to sail around the world through the Northeast and Northwest passages, from the Atlantic to the Pacific (in 1905). He was the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. Amundsen died in a plane crash attempting to rescue his friend, the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile who was lost in an airship.

For more information on Amundsen, click here.

ARMSTRONG, NEIL
Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012) was the first person to walk on the moon. He piloted NASA's Apollo 11 mission, which took off on July 16, 1969. Armstrong and Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr., landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, in the lunar module (landing in the Mare Tranquillitatis), while Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module. Upon his first step on the moon, Armstrong said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin explored the Moon's surface for about 2 hours. Years earlier, in 1966, Armstrong and David R. Scott performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space on the Gemini 8 mission.
BALLARD, ROBERT
Robert Duane Ballard (June 30, 1942 - ) is an American undersea explorer, marine scientist, and US Naval officer who has been on over 65 underwater expeditions in submarines and deep diving submersibles. He found the Titanic and many other wrecks. Ballard has revolutionized undersea exploring by using remotely controlled submersible robotic devices (including Argo-Jason; Argo is a remotely controlled submersible vehicle with cameras, and Jason is carried in Argo and sent from it to collect samples and perform other functions). Ballard founded the JASON project and continues to explore the sea.

For more information on Ballard, click here.

BEEBE, WILLIAM
William Beebe (1877 - 1962) was an American naturalist and undersea explorer. In 1932, Beebe and Otis Barton descended 3,000 ft (914 m) in a bathysphere (a pressurized steel sphere invented by Beebe and Barton). They descended off the coast of Nonsuch Island, Bermuda, in the Atlantic Ocean. During the dive, they communicated with the surface via telephone. Beebe wrote many books detailing this and his other adventures around the world.
BLUFORD, GUION
Dr. Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. (November 22, 1942-) was the first African-American in space. A NASA astronaut, he flew aboard the Challenger Space Shuttle mission STS-8 as a mission specialist. The flight lasted from August 30, 1983, until September 5, 1983. Dr. Bluford is an aerospace engineer with a Ph.D from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He is also a colonel in the US Air Force. He later flew on other space missions, including STS-61A (in 1985), STS-39 (in 1991), and STS-53 (in 1992). In total, Bluford logged over 688 hours in space. Dr. Bluford became a NASA astronaut in August 1979. Dr. Bluford is married and has two children.
BONDAR, ROBERTA
Roberta Lynn Bondar (1945-) was the first Canadian woman to go into space. Bondar was the payload specialist on NASA's space shuttle Discovery during Mission STS-42, January 22-30, 1992. A neurobiologist, Bondar is a professor at University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada.
BOYD, LOUISE A.
Louise Arner Boyd (1887-1972), known as the "ice woman," was an American who repeatedly explored and photographed the Arctic Ocean; she was also the first woman to fly over the North Pole. Born in San Rafael, California, (near San Francisco), Boyd inherited the family fortune (made by her father's investment company) when she was 33 years old (in 1920).

For more information on Boyd, click here.

BYRD, RICHARD E.
Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888-1957) was an Arctic and Antarctic explorer, pioneering aviator, and US Naval Officer. On May 9, 1926, Byrd (the navigator) and Floyd Bennett (the pilot) made what may have been the first airplane trip over the North Pole, in a 15 1/2 hour flight; they flew from King's Bay, Spitsbergen, Norway, to the North Pole and back again. There is a dispute as to whether or not they actually reached the pole. He also made many trips to Antarctica.

For more information on Byrd, click here.

COLLINS, MICHAEL
Michael Collins (1930- ) is an American astronaut and US Air Force pilot. Collins piloted NASA's 3-day Gemini 10 Mission, which was launched on July 18, 1966; this mission successfully rendezvoused and docked with a separate Agena target vehicle, and Collins walked in space twice during this mission. Collins piloted the Command Module pilot of Apollo 11 (the mission that landed Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. on the moon, it flew from July 16-24, 1969); Collins circled the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon, and later rendezvoused with them.
COUSTEAU, JACQUES
Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1997) was a French undersea explorer, environmentalist, and innovator. In 1943, Cousteau and the French engineer Emile Gagnan invented the aqualung, a breathing apparatus that supplied oxygen to divers and allowed them to stay underwater for several hours. Cousteau traveled the world's oceans in his research vessel "Calypso," beginning in 1948. (Calypso was a converted 400-ton World War 2 minesweeper; it sank in 1996, after being hit by a barge in Singapore harbor). Cousteau's popular TV series, films and many books [including "The Living Sea" (1963), and "World Without Sun" (1965)] exposed the public to the wonders of the sea.
EARLE, SYLVIA
Sylvia Alice Earle (August 30, 1935- ) is an undersea explorer, marine biologist (specializing in botany), and author. Earle has done pioneering work in studying ocean life, and she has helped develop the equipment necessary for underwater exploration. During 50 underwater expeditions and over 6,000 hours underwater, Earle has discovered many new marine species and set many diving records. In 1970, Earle led a team of five aquanauts (underwater explorers) who lived for 2 weeks (during which they experienced an underwater earthquake) in an underwater laboratory in a U.S. government project named "Tektite II." She has discovered many underwater phemonena, including undersea dunes in the Atlantic Ocean off the Bahama Islands.

For more information on Earle, click here.

EBERHARDT, ISABELLA
Isabelle Eberhardt (Feb. 17, 1877 - October 21, 1904) was an explorer who lived and traveled extensively in North Africa.

For more information on Eberhardt, click here.

FIENNES, RANULPH
Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (March 7, 1944- ) is an English explorer and author who has led over 30 expeditions to the North and South Poles, the desert, the Nile, and many other remote places. In 1982, Fiennes led the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth. In 1992, Fiennes and others found the legendary Lost City of Ubar in the desert of Oman. In 1993, Fiennes and Dr. Mike Stroud made the first unsupported walk across the continent of Antarctica, each man dragging a 500-pound sledge.

Fiennes holds many world exploration records. The Guiness Book of Records described Fiennes as "the world's greatest living explorer."

For more information on Fiennes, click here.

GAGARIN, YURI
Colonel Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin (March 9,1934 - March 27, 1968) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first human in space.

Gagarin piloted the Vostok 1 mission which launched April 12, 1961. His flight lasted 108 minutes and orbited the Earth once. The spacecraft was recovered later that day in the Saratov region of the Soviet Union.

For more information on Gagarin, click here.

GLENN, JOHN
John Glenn (1921- ) piloted the first American manned orbital mission on February 20, 1962. He flew NASA's Friendship 7, a Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft, to about 162 miles in altitude, going at a maximum orbital velocity of about 17,500 miles per hour. This mission orbited the Earth 3 times and lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds, from launch to impact in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1998, 36 years later, Glenn flew a 9-day mission on the Space Shuttle (STS-95). Glenn was the US Senator from Ohio from 1974 to 1998.

For more information on Glenn, click here.
Go to a Cloze Activity on Glenn

GRISSOM, GUS
GrissomVirgil "Gus" Ivan Grissom (April 3, 1926 - January 27, 1967) was one of the original seven NASA astronauts. Grissom flew the second manned US space flight, commanded the first two-man Gemini mission, and was killed along with Edward White II and Roger Chaffee in a launch pad fire during a test for the upcoming first Apollo flight, which Grissom was scheduled to command.

For more information on Grissom, click here.

HENDRICKSON, SUE
Sue Hendrickson (December 2, 1949 - ) is a self-taught fossil hunter (specializing in fossil inclusions in amber), marine archaeologist, adventurer and explorer. In South Dakota in 1990, Hendrickson found the remarkable T. rex fossil that is now known as Sue. This T. rex fossil is the largest and most complete T. rex found to date. Sue (the fossil) is now displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

For more information on Hendrickson, click here.

HENSON, MATTHEW A.
Matthew Alexander Henson (Aug. 8, 1866 - March 9, 1955) was an American explorer and one of the first people to visit the North Pole. He was on most of Robert E. Peary's expeditions, including the 1909 trip to the North Pole.

For more information on Henson, click here.

Go to a cloze activity on Henson.

HILLARY, EDMUND
Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (1919 - ) is a mountain climber, Antarctic explorer, and beekeeper from New Zealand. Hillary and the Nepalese mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, were the first people to reach the top of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953. Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world (29,028 feet = 8,848 m). Hillary went on many other adventures, including other expeditions than to Mt. Everest, reaching the South Pole by tractor on Jan. 4, 1958, and climbing Mt. Herschel (10,941 feet = 3,335 m) in 1967 (his was the first expedition to climb it), and leading the first expedition to jet boat up the Ganges River to find its source. Hillary wrote many books about his adventures, including High Adventure (1955), The Crossing of Antarctica (1958; with Fuchs), and No Latitude for Error (1961), and Nothing Venture, Nothing Win (1975).
JEMISON, MAE C.
Mae C. Jemison (October 17, 1956 - ) was the first African-American woman in space. Dr. Jemison is a medical doctor and a surgeon, with engineering experience. She flew on the space shuttle Endeavor (STS-47, Spacelab-J) as the Mission Specialist; the mission lifted off on September 12, 1992 and landed on September 20, 1992.

For more information on Jemison, click here.

LOVELL, JAMES A.
James Arthur Lovell, Jr., (March 25, 1928 - ) was NASA astronaut who flew on two Gemini missions (Gemini 7 and Gemini 12) and made two trips to the moon. Lovell was on the first lunar orbit flight, Apollo 8 (1968), and the aborted Apollo 13 mission (1970). Lovell has continued exploring, visiting both the North Pole (April 13, 1987) and South Pole (January 2000). In 1994, Lovell wrote "Lost Moon," his account of the Apollo 13 mission.

For more information on Lovell, click here.

MAWSON, DOUGLAS
Douglas Mawson (1882 - 1958) was an Australian geologist and explorer. Mawson was a member of the British Antarctic Expedition (1907-1909) which was led by Ernest Shackleton. On a three-man sledge trip, Mawson, A.F. Mackay, and Edgeworth David traveled to the magnetic South Pole. Mawson was among the first to climb Antarctica's Mount Erebus. Mawson also went on the scientific Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914). During this expedition, Mawson went on an ill-fated trip in which only Mawson survived, walking 100 miles (160 km) alone, hauling his geological specimens on a sled. His book "The Home of the Blizzard," is an account of this journey. Later, Mawson led the British, Australian, New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) of 1929-31, mapping the coastline of Antarctic and discovering Mac. Robertson land and Princess Elizabeth Land (which later became the Australian Antarctic Territory). Early in his career, in 1906, Mawson identified and named the radioactive mineral Davidite (named for T. W. Edgeworth David). Mawson appears on an Australian stamp and $100 bill.
MCAULIFFE, CHRISTA
Sharon Christa Corrigan McAuliffe (1948-1986) was an American schoolteacher who was chosen to be the first teacher in space.

McAuliffe was killed, along with her six fellow astronauts (Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair, and Gregory B. Jarvis), when the NASA's Space Shuttle Challenger Mission 51-L exploded only 73 seconds after its launch on the morning of January 28, 1986.

McAuliffe was born on September 2, 1948, in Boston, Massachusetts. She taught at Concord High School in Concord, New Hampshire, before being chosen for the Space Shuttle mission (she was chosen from over 11,000 applicants). McAuliffe was married and had two children.

MONKIENAUTS
Moneynauts are monkeys that were sent into space. The first monkey in sub-orbital space was a squirrel monkey called Gordo. Gordo was launched into space on December 13, 1958, in the nose cone of the US Army rocket Jupiter AM-13. Gordo did well in the flight, but drowned in the Atlantic Ocean when the flotation device on the nose cone failed and it sank.

The next two monkeys in space, Able and Baker, were launched on May 28, 1959 (Jupiter AM-18). Able was a 7 pound (3.18 kilogram) rhesus monkey, and Baker, a 11 ounce (311.9 gram) squirrel monkey. They were both successfully retrieved after a 300 mile sub-orbital flight that took 16 minutes.

For more information on monkeynaut, click here.

Go to a monkeynaut cloze (fill in the blanks) activity printout. Go to the cloze answers.

NORGAY, TENZING
Tenzing Norgay, born Namgyal Wangdi, (1919-1986) was a Nepalese professional mountaineer from a Sherpa village. Norgay and Edmund Percival Hillary were the first people to reach the top of Mount Everest (Chomolungma) on May 29, 1953; Norgay was the first to actually place foot on the summit. Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world (29,028 feet = 8,848 m). A few months before this climb (in 1952), Norgay and Raymond Lambert climbed to within 1,000 feet of the Everest's summit - a world record at the time. Tenzing Norgay climbed to Everest's summit many times during the 20 years following his and Hillary's successful climb.
ONIZUKA, ELLISON S.
Ellison Shoji Onizuka (June 24, 1946 - January 28, 1986) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, an aerospace engineer, and a NASA astronaut. Onizuka flew on two Space Shuttle missions; he died in the Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986.

For more information on Onizuka, click here.

PEARY, ROBERT E.
Robert Edwin Peary (May 6, 1856 - Feb. 20, 1920) was an American explorer and Naval officer who led the first expedition to the North Pole. In 1909, Peary, Matthew A. Henson, and four Eskimos were the first people to reach the North Pole.

For more information on Peary, click here.

PICCARD, JACQUES
Jacques Ernest-Jean Piccard (1922- ) is a Swiss ocean explorer and scientist who was the first person to go to the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean. On January 23, 1960, he and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh descended over 35,802 feet or 7 miles (10,912 m) in a pressured bathyscape, called Trieste. They went to the bottom of the Challenger Deep of the Marianas Trench (200 miles southwest of Guam), the deepest place on Earth. The trip took five hours. The bathyscape was built by Piccard and his father, Auguste Piccard (1884-1962), a notable Belgian physicist and inventor.
RIDE, SALLY
Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951-2012) was the first American woman in space. Dr. Ride's first trip into space was aboard NASA's space shuttle Challenger (STS-7) in 1983 (June 18-June 24). Her second (and last) space flight was the eight-day Challenger (STS 41-G) mission (in October, 1984).

For more information on Ride, click here.
For a cloze activity on Ride, click here

SCOTT, ROBERT F.
Scott mapRobert Falcon Scott (June 6, 1868 - March 29, 1912) was a British naval officer and Antarctic explorer. Scott led two expeditions to the South Pole, and died on the disastrous second trip, along with his crew. His expedition was the second to reach the South Pole (1910-1912); Roald Amundsen led the first.

For more information on Scott, click here.

SHACKLETON, ERNEST HENRY
AntarcticaSir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1872-1922) was a British explorer (born in Ireland) and member of the Royal Naval Reserve. Shackleton was involved in many expeditions attempting to reach the South Pole.

For more information on Shackleton, click here.

SHEPARD, ALAN
Alan B. Shepard Jr. (1923-1998) piloted America's first manned space mission. This astronaut briefly flew into space on May 5, 1961, in Freedom 7, a Mercury space capsule. The capsule splashed down at sea and was retrieved by helicopter. Shepard also piloted Apollo XIV to the moon, accompanied by Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa. They took off on January 31, 1971. Shepard and Mitchell landed on the moon in the lunar module (landing near the Fra Mauro Crater) on February 5, 1971, while Roosa orbited the moon in the command module. Shepard hit golf balls on the moon during this historic trip
STEFANSSON, VILHJALMUR
Vilhjalmur Stefansson (November 3, 1879 - August 26, 1962) was a Canadian explorer (born of Icelandic parents) who explored the Canadian Arctic and lived among the Inuit (Eskimos) for many years.

For more information on Stefansson, click here.

TERESHKOVA, VALENTINA
Colonel-Engineer Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (1937- ) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman in space. She was on the Vostok 5 mission which launched on June 16, 1963, and orbited the Earth 48 times. The flight lasted 2.95 days. The spacecraft was recovered on June 19, 1963, in the Soviet Union.

For more information on Tereshkova, click here.

WHITE, EDWARD H.
Edward Higgins White II (1930- 1967) was an American astronaut and Air Force test pilot. He was the first American to walk in space; he was also the first person to use jet propulsion to maneuver himself in space while on a spacewalk. This spacewalk occurred on June 3, 1965, on the four-day Gemini 4 (GT-4, commanded by Jim McDivitt) mission, which circled the Earth 62 times. White was later chosen to be the Senior Pilot for the first Apollo mission (Apollo 1). Lieutenant Colonel White died on January 27, 1967, during an Apollo training session (in which they were practicing emergency procedures). A flash fire quickly burned the spacecraft, killing White and his fellow astronauts, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee.

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