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Marooned at the end of the world

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A hundred years ago Saturday, 31 people aboard the Karluk, including my grandfather, set out with lofty ambitions of exploration and discovery on one of the most ambitious Arctic expeditions in history.

But when massive pack ice crushed their ship, they found themselves in a desperate yearlong fight for their lives.

The crew's perilous struggle to make it out alive in the face of daunting odds and fearsome conditions is preserved in their journals and memoirs.

To read their story is to be reminded of an epoch when men risked their lives for the sake of discovering the unknown corners of the Earth. Despite having no modern survival gear, no GPS, no weather forecasts and no way to make calls to civilization, they were driven on by an urge to set foot where no man had.

Some of these explorers died in the ice and snow. Some were never seen again. And some -- despite facing death every day -- mustered up unimaginable endurance to survive. 

Great story!

We still have frontiers -- outer space, and deep oceans -- where this dangerous kind of story can happen.

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