Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Greatest Explorations of the Past Century will present the top exploration initiatives of the past century here over the next few weeks. Following that, the top inventions during the same period will be catalogued.

As we reviewed the selections, we discovered some interesting elements to our list: more than half were human missions and a minority were robotic missions. We defined “greatest explorations” as those which have had and will have the greatest impact on more humans now and in the future. We will present them here in chronological order. The first exploration began in 1911 and the final significant one on our list occurred 1995. As far as a time when these significant events of the past century peaked, the decade of the 1960’s was without any argument, the most significant period of human exploration not just in the past century - but in all of recorded history. Nearly 60 percent of the most momentous activities in exploration occurred during the past 100 years occured in one 10 year period from 1960 to 1969.

Speaking of argument – we understand and appreciate that all of this is very subjective and can be argued one way or another. But we attempted this evaluation in the most fair way possible, representing the full spectrum of all exploration activities.

Tomorrow, we present the first on our list: The momentous 1911 expeditions of Roald Amundsen and the first human team to reach the South pole.