Lesson Learned: Don’t Fly To North Pole In A Balloon
In the late 19th century, scores of celebrated, valorous explorers attempted to reach the North Pole. Groups of explorers from the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia invented clever new equipment, raised money, stirred national pride and enthralled the world by attempting to march, sail or sled to the most cold, remote and unseen place on Earth.
But it was a perilous business: Of the 1,000 people who tried to reach the North Pole in the late 1800s, 751 died during their attempt, author Alec Wilkinson tells NPR’s Scott Simon.
One Swedish man named S.A. Andree decided to try to fly above all that. In 1897, Andree and his crew of two — Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel — set out for the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon. The story of their journey and that age of Arctic exploration is told in Wilkinson’s new book, The Ice Balloon.