"This day on traveling" Personal Page by a2lopes

Where none have gone before

From time to time something will appear here to celebrate some travelers / explorers / wanderers
this is the first....



1911 -December 14th
Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first explorer to reach the South Pole, beating his British rival, Robert Falcon Scott. In early 1911, Amundsen sailed his ship into Antarctica's Bay of Whales and set up base camp 60 miles closer to the pole than Scott. In October, both explorers set off -Amundsen using sleigh dogs, and Scott employing Siberian motor sledges, Siberian ponies, and dogs. On December 14, 1911, Amundsen's expedition won the race to the Pole and returned safely to base camp in late January. Scott's expedition was less fortunate. The motor sleds broke down, the ponies had to be shot, and the dog teams were sent back as Scott and four companions continued on foot. On January 18, 1912, they reached the pole only to find that Amundsen had preceded them by over a month. Weather on the return journey was exceptionally bad -two members perished- and a storm later trapped Scott and the other two survivors in their tent only 11 miles from their base camp. Scott?s frozen body was found later that year.
Amundsen's expedition was an incredible masterpiece of organization.
Here is the story...
More on Amundsen here or here
More on south pole




1962 -December 14th

Also today - A very nice Virtualtourist ;-)
Mariner 2, a 200-kilogram machine carrying six scientific instruments was the world's first successful interplanetary spacecraft. It reached Venus on December 14, 1962, after a 108-day journey from Earth.
More on Mariner 2 @ Nasa, or @ SolarViews




1903 -December 17th
imagine our days RealTourist without airplane flies.....

Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Americans Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. The Wright brothers, self-taught inventors from Dayton, Ohio, were bicycle manufacturers before they turned their attention to the possibilities of flight. Their first airplane, a double-winged biplane, had a wingspan of 39 feet, a 12-horsepower engine, and movable wing tips to control direction. Orville Wright makes the first successful flight covering 37 m (120 ft) in a flight lasting just 12 seconds. More on Orville and how they made
the first flight
.
And after that day nothing was as before.......




1620 -December 21th
Where none have gone before - Not just tourist but also travel

Travel is the transport of people on a trip or journey. Reasons for travel include Tourism (travel for recreation), visiting friends and family, Trade, Commuting (routine activities such as work or meetings), Migration, and Pilgrimages. The word originates from the Middle English word travailen ("to toil"), which comes from the French word travailler ("travail").

On this day in 1620 the "Pilgrim Fathers" the first group of American "colonists" disembarks from the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Passengers and crew have increased to 103 after two births on the voyage from Plymouth, England. And what a trip for those days??




1895 -December 22th

Where none have gone before - to discover, to explore, to "travel"
German physicist Wilhelm Rontgen makes the first radiograph - X-ray - a picture of his wife's hand. Rontgen's original paper, "On A New Kind Of X-Rays," was published 6 days later on December 28, 1895. In 1901 Rontgen was awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Physics. The award was officially, "in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him". Rontgen donated the monetary reward from the prize to his university.
But after that day Dec 22th 1895 nothing was as before....... Imagine all the ?inside? world that we can explore with X-rays.....




1831 -December 27th

Where none have gone before - the questions that you should ask after you see what you see

On this day a young naturalist named Charles Darwin embarks on the Beagle for a voyage of exploration in the seas of the Pacific. He wrote a nice travelogue but above all its innumerable observations on the variability of the species lead it to work out an evolutionary theory which took its name: Darwinism. Its major work The origin of the species by way of natural selection (1859) shows the change and the adaptability of the natural species by a long-term process.
Darwin originally believed in the orthodox theory of his time: that each species had been created individually and had remained unchanged since Earth's beginning. But his observations of fossils and living organisms during a five-year voyage around the world aboard H.M.S. Beagle (1831-36) led to his conclusion that new species arose as existing species gradually changed in response to environmental conditions.
Imagine what he was thinking before he starts this trip…
Among his best-known evidence was the adaptive radiation of finches he studied on the Galapagos Islands. What a trip!

Another well know traveler figure of this trip was Robert FitzRoy that later was a pioneering meteorologist who invented weather forecasts (that’s a good thing for tourists ;-), also proving an able surveyor and hydrographer as well as Governor of New Zealand.
It is also the same that gave the name to Mount Fitz Roy, located in the northern section of Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina – a must for mountain climbers and trekkers.


What's up today?

A second, just a leap second

On Dec. 31st, the clock will read like this as it leads into Jan. 1st, 2006:
23h 59m 59s ...
23h 59m 60s ... (weird?!?!?)
00h 00m 00s
(normally, the seconds would roll from 59 directly to 00).

This extra second will be added to 2005 to make up for the slowing down of the Earth's rotation.
While time has been measured by the planet's rotation for thousands of years (the most natural definition of a "day" is the period that elapses between two successive returns of the sun to a fixed position in the sky) but proved to be “uncertain” for the “perfect” man of today, it wasn't until 1949 that scientists developed a clock that kept “perfect” time –the atomic clock. An atomic clock keeps time by looking at the fundamental vibrations of atoms, and the current standard is a cesium atom, which vibrates 9,192,631,770 times per second (as far as scientists know, this doesn't change over time and is the same everywhere on Earth and in space).

So the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service in Paris keeps track of time by measuring the Earth's rotation, which varies, and by an atomic clock, which is unwavering. When a difference in the two clocks shows up, the IERS adds or subtracts a second to the year.

The first leap second was added in 1972, as technology allowed for more accurate timekeeping, and they were all the rage in the beginning. At least one was added every year between 1972 and 1983 before a slight drop-off in the mid-eighties and nineties. And then, in 1999 for reasons still unknown, the rotation of the Earth speeded up a bit, so seconds haven't been added since then. Part of the secret behind Earth's changing speeds is tidal force exerted by the Moon, which is responsible for the gradual slowing of our planet's rotation over time. But other slight forces are at work, such as changes in the season, movement of rock in the molten core, and other factors that scientists have yet to uncover. Seasons, particularly those in the Northern Hemisphere, change the planet's rotational speed predictably during the year. Water evaporates from the sea surface and comes down as rain and snow in the mountains and eventually melts back to the sea. This creates an effect similar to an ice skater sticking her arms out to slow down a spin, or pulling them close to her body to speed up.

The change is typically miniscule –we're talking about a millionth of a second per day, however, when add up every day…
So the only thing special today is that the once-common "leap second" is the first in seven years and reflects the unpredictable nature of the planet's behavior. (see more here)

Keep moving from time to time you have extra seconds.....




This day on traveling / exploring

1785 -January 7th
What none have tried before -always the "importance" of being the first

Nowadays, many travelers cross the English Channel or La Manche underneath, by way of the Channel Tunnel or "Chunnel" a great deal of engineering. Due to its historical significance and strategic impact (military, trade, etc.) the Channel crossing was always seen of outmost relevance and many tried to cross it by all means, and some perished. On this day in 1785 Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard (inventor, and pioneer in aviation and ballooning) and American John Jeffries (a physician, scientist, and a military surgeon) traveled from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air. See here some other notable Channel crossings and a page about history of ballooning.
If you come to Portugal (specially in spring) it's worth to try a balloon flight in Alentejo -you will see all shades of the dawn and will take breakfast @ sunrise from above with nice view.

The same day in 1610 astronomer Galileo Galilei gave new worlds to the World - he sighted three of Jupiter's four largest satellites (moons), naming them Io, Europa, and Callisto. This was a real discovery and changed the concept of our world with religious and (above all) scientific implications. Later on Galileo's simple lenses (not its original idea) were developed to become very helpful instruments for discoverers when traveling either in land or sea and also telescopes.

And just for fun - this day in 1927, basketball promoter Abe Saperstein's "New York Globetrotters" took the floor at Hinckley, Illinois. Later in the 1930s they changed to Harlem Globetrotters and added humor to their games in the 1940's, and they become really big travelers - all of us in VT want to become globe-trotters.


This day on traveling / exploring

1773 -January 17th
where none have gone before

James Cook was born on October 27, 1728 in Marton, (near modern Middlesborough), Yorkshire, Britain. He commanded three voyages of discovery for Great Britain, and sailed around the world twice. Captain Cook's voyages lead to the establishment of colonies throughout the Pacific by several European countries.

Cook was an apprentice to a shipping company at age 18, and joined the British Navy at 27 in 1755. In 1768, the Navy appointed him leader of a scientific expedition to Tahiti to observe a transit of Venus across the sun. He also had secret orders to seek a southern continent geographers long believed kept the world "in balance". He set out on his first voyage round the world in the ship Endeavour. The trip to Tahiti was successful. The search for the southern continent ("Terres Australes" or lands in the south) was not. In October of 1769 Cook was the first European to visit New Zealand.

On August 22, 1770, Cook claimed for Great Britain the eastern coast of New Holland, as Australia was known by the Dutch at that time. He claimed the part of New Holland the Dutch had not technically mapped. The name "Australia" was not used until the early 1800s. During his return trip to England in 1771, Cook was the first ship commander to prevent the outbreak of scurvy, by serving his crew fruit and sauerkraut to prevent the disease.

On Cook's second journey he sailed farther south than any other European. He went were none have gone before -"down" to 71? 10' S, and today we commemorate the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle in 1773. He circled Antarctica in his famous ship Resolution, but the ice surrounding the continent prevented the sighting of land. The existence of the Antarctica remained unproved until 1840. He returned to England in 1775 and was promoted to Captain.

In July of 1776 Cook set sail on his third voyage, again in Resolution. His mission was to look for a possible northern sea route between Europe and Asia. In 1778 he became the first know European to reach the Hawaiian Islands. Later in 1778 Cook sailed up the northwest coast of North America, and was the first European to land on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He continued up the coast through the Bering strait, and entered the Arctic Ocean. Great walls of ice blocked the expedition, so Cook headed back for the Hawaiian Islands. On February 14, 1779 Cook was stabbed to death by Hawaiian natives while investigating a theft of a boat by an islander. The expedition arrived back in England in October of 1780.

Definitely he was one of the world's greatest explorers/travelers.

Other information: about Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia, about Endeavour replica and about Discoverers . There is even a Captain Cook Society


  • Page Updated Jan 25, 2006
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