Parks Canada - The Franklin Expedition - Confirming the identity of HMS Terror – September 2016

Some of the specific details used by Parks Canada’s archaeologists to confirm the wreck of the Terror, along with a few photos. Poor visibility probably limited the amount of photos that could be taken. And I must admit that as a scuba diver I’m intensely jealous of these guys who are able to dive this wreck.

Real spacecraft/space mission

Today, on 4th July, Juno is performing Jupiter Orbit Insertion burn, putting the spacecraft into highly elliptical polar orbit around Jupiter.

Juno spacecraft, launched in August 2011 from Cape Canaveral on top of Atlas V rocket.

Learn more about Juno mission:

You can also check out the NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System app, where you can explore a detailed simulation of the Juno mission, as well as other NASA projects around the Solar System.

Edit: Prints available as always on STNW Society6 shop


March 16th 1912: Lawrence Oates dies

On this day in 1912 Lawrence Oates, a member of Robert Falcon Scott’s British team to the South Pole, left his tent never to be seen again. Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition was his second attempt and aimed to become the first group to reach the South Pole. The group succeeded in reaching the Pole on January 17th 1912, only to discover that they had been beaten by Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian expedition. Sadly, Scott’s entire party of five men died on the return journey. Oates was one of those who died first. He was suffering from severe frostbite and, in an apparent act of self-sacrifice, simply walked out of his tent into a blizzard. He had asked them to leave him behind as his condition worsened, and it is likely he felt that he was holding his group back and limiting their chances for survival. Thus on March 16th he walked out of the tent saying: “I am just going outside and may be some time.” The others died soon after and their bodies were found by a search party in November, along with some of their equipment and personal effects. Oates’s body was never found, but he and his companions are remembered as brave men and national heroes.

“We knew that poor Oates was walking to his death, but though we tried to dissuade him, we knew it was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman.
- Entry in Scott’s diary about Oates

Grumpy McGrumpface

The Worst Journey in the World
Is it a production blog, or is it an illustrated descent into madness?

Those of you who have been following me for any length of time know that I’ve got a bit of an obsession for the Terra Nova Expedition, a.k.a. the Scott Expedition, a.k.a. the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-13.  I have now set up a side Tumblr specifically for this project, on which I will post new drawings as they come, but also interesting things I find in the course of my research, exploration of the people and events, photographs old and new, process, and tidbits of my own adventures in the world of polar history – the sort of things I want to share, but don’t want to clutter up my art blog.  

If you’re curious about the story that has so enthralled me, want to know who these people are that you keep seeing in my sketchbook, or just want to stare at what happens when someone’s hobby comes to take over their life, then please follow worstjourney.tumblr.com and you will, I hope, be satisfied.

At the moment I’m mostly reposting old stuff in order to have it all in one place, but I aim to have new material a couple times a week, and as time goes on, more and more of it will be new.  Where are we going?  I don’t know!  But I hope you’ll come along with me.


Curious Fact of the Week: Shackleton’s Whiskey Cache

Ernest Shackleton’s stash of hundred-year-old booze was discovered buried in the ice under the explorer’s Antarctic base camp.

In January 2010 workers from the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust successfully extracted the cases from the ice and now one of them is being slowly thawed to see if the whisky can be saved.

The hut served as the base of operations for the British 1907-1909 Nimrod Expedition, an early attempt in the race to the geographic South Pole led by a young Ernest Shackleton.

Upon leaving Antarctica to go back home, Shackleton wrote:

“We all turned out to give three cheers and to take a last look at the place where we had spent so many happy days. The hut was not exactly a palatial residence … but, on the other hand, it had been our home for a year that would always live in our memories…. We watched the little hut fade away in the distance with feelings almost of sadness, and there were few men aboard who did not cherish a hope that some day they would once more live strenuous days under the shadow of mighty Erebus.”

Shackleton was knighted upon his return to England. Five years later he made his most famous attempt at the pole. The Endurance Expedition, in which his ship became trapped and sunk in ice, was another technical failure, but an epic success story of survival against all odds.

For the full version of Shackleton’s lesser-known expedition to the South Pole, keep reading on Atlas Obscura…

Historic Photos Show the Epic Voyages of Black Explorer
Largely ignored for nearly a century, Matthew Henson made big contributions to polar exploration.

One of the pioneering polar explorers from the Golden Age of Exploration grew up as a poor orphan in Baltimore, and his achievements later in life were largely ignored because of his race.

Matthew Henson was one of the era’s few African-American explorers, and he may have been the first man, black or white, to reach the North Pole. His grueling adventures alongside U.S. Navy engineer Robert E. Peary are chronicled in these dramatic early photos.

The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances than those expected.

January 17th, Captain Scott becomes the second man to stand at the South Pole. At this point Amundsen was at making camp at 82 degrees south, nine days from reaching his home base at Framheim on January 26th. Whatever personal opinions of all this may be, that’s the way it happened. Internet arguments rage about the scientific outcomes of the expedition not being worth the cost, but you can’t argue that the volumes of data the British Antarctic Expedition brought home on the meteorology, biology, and geology of the Antarctic continent had a more lasting impact on society than simply being first. And yes, there was much more than simply a few fossils.
For those interested in the infamous ‘thirty five pound of rocks that killed Scott’, I can nerd out on the paleontology of Antarctica by saying amongst them were Glossopteris fossils. Glossopteris plants are an extinct form of Permian (roughly 250-300 million years ago) tropical fern found previously in South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia. Their discovery on the very remote continent of Antarctica gave very strong evidence for the theory of continental drift. Antarctica was once at a more equatorial location and part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana.
Below is a map from geosociety.org showing Antarctica in its location in former Gondwana.

Henry Worsley was a perfectly closed system progressing across the underbelly of the planet. He might as well have been alone on Mars.

Last week, after 70 days on the Antarctic ice and more than 900 miles of slogging though the snow, Worsley called for help: He could no longer “slide one ski in front of the other.”  

MORE. People Cross Antarctica All the Time. It’s Still Crazy Hard


Welcome to Polar Week 2014 on Atlas Obscura

This week is Polar Week at Atlas Obscura! We’ll be celebrating all things Arctic and Antarctic, from the North to South Pole, through curious stories and fascinating locales. If you are in certain parts of the world you may already feel like you’re in an ice kingdom, so grab a warm drink and join us for tales of two of the frigid extremes of our planet.

Have any tips for Polar Week? Drop us a line by email or Twitter with the hashtag #PolarWeek, or join in the frozen fun on FacebookGoogle+, and Kinja!

In the meantime, visit some of our favorite polar places, plus more of Frank Hurley’s stunning photographs from Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica…

(Images courtesy the State Library of New South Wales)