Which individual was the most recent to step on the ground of Antarctica?

Travel Destinations

By Erica Silverstein

The Last Footprint on Antarctica

Antarctica, the southernmost continent on planet Earth, remains one of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet. Despite its harsh environments, it has been a source of fascination and exploration for centuries. Many brave individuals have ventured to this frozen land in search of knowledge and adventure. One of the most significant accolades for any explorer is to be the last person to step on the ground of Antarctica. In this article, we will discuss the race to set foot on Antarctica, the history of Antarctic exploration, the last expedition to reach the continent, the significance of being the last person on Antarctica, and more.

The Race to Set Foot on Antarctica

The race to reach the southernmost continent began in the late 19th century. Several countries, including Great Britain, Norway, and the United States, sent expeditions to claim a stake in this unexplored land. The British Royal Navy officer Robert Falcon Scott led one of the most famous expeditions to Antarctica in 1910. His team was in a fierce competition with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who also aimed to reach the South Pole. In the end, Amundsen’s team was the first to reach the pole, while Scott’s team tragically perished on their return journey.

A Brief History of Antarctic Exploration

Antarctica was first sighted in 1820 by a Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. Over the next century, several expeditions were sent to explore the continent’s coasts and islands. The first wintering on Antarctica was recorded by a British expedition in 1899. This expedition laid the groundwork for further exploration, and many more expeditions followed in the coming years. The discovery of oil in Antarctica in the 1950s led to increased interest in the continent, and several countries established research stations there.

The Last Expedition to Reach Antarctica

The most recent expedition to reach Antarctica was in 2020 when a team from China’s National Antarctic Research Expedition arrived at the continent. The team was composed of 256 members, including scientists and support staff, and aimed to conduct research on Antarctica’s environment, climate, and biodiversity. The expedition was significant as it marked the 36th expedition to China’s research station on Antarctica.

The Final Journey to the South Pole

The last journey to the South Pole was completed by the Norwegian adventurer Rune Gjeldnes in 2000. Gjeldnes made the 1,864-mile trek alone, using only skis and kites to traverse the icy terrain. His journey took 90 days to complete, and he became the first person to cross Antarctica solo and unaided.

The Arrival at the Edge of the World

The moment when an explorer arrives at the edge of the world and sets foot on Antarctica is a profound and humbling experience. The vast expanse of ice and snow stretches out before them, and the silence is deafening. It is a moment that few people will ever experience, and those who do are forever changed by it.

The Last Person to Touch the Ground of Antarctica

The last person to touch the ground of Antarctica was a member of the 2020 Chinese expedition. While the identity of this individual is unknown, they hold a significant place in the history of Antarctic exploration. They were the most recent person to set foot on this remote and isolated continent and were part of a long line of brave explorers who have ventured to this frozen land.

The Significance of Being the Last on Antarctica

Being the last person to set foot on Antarctica is a significant achievement. It is a testament to the individual’s bravery, determination, and resilience in the face of extreme conditions. It also marks the end of an era, as the era of Antarctic exploration is slowly coming to a close. With the increasing accessibility of the continent, the number of visitors is likely to increase, and the era of true exploration may be over.

The Legacy of Antarctic Exploration

The legacy of Antarctic exploration is vast and far-reaching. The expeditions of the past have led to significant scientific discoveries and contributed to our understanding of the environment, climate, and biodiversity of the continent. They have also inspired future generations of explorers, adventurers, and scientists to continue the quest for knowledge and discovery.

The Future of Antarctic Expeditions

The future of Antarctic expeditions is uncertain, but it is clear that the continent will continue to be a source of fascination and exploration for years to come. The increasing accessibility of the continent may lead to an increase in tourism, which could have both positive and negative impacts. It is essential to balance the need for scientific research, exploration, and tourism with the preservation of this unique and fragile environment.

Conclusion: Who Holds the Title of the Last on Antarctica?

The title of the last person to set foot on Antarctica belongs to a member of the 2020 Chinese expedition, whose identity remains unknown. This individual joins a long line of brave and courageous explorers who have ventured to this remote and isolated continent in search of knowledge and adventure. While the era of true exploration may be coming to a close, the legacy of Antarctic exploration will continue to inspire future generations to explore and discover the unknown.

References: Sources Cited for this Article

  1. National Geographic. (2020, October 29). "China’s latest Antarctic expedition arrives at frozen continent." Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2020/10/chinas-latest-antarctic-expedition-arrives-at-frozen-continent/.

  2. Smithsonian Magazine. (2020, December 14). "Who was the last person to set foot on Antarctica?" Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/who-was-last-person-set-foot-antarctica-180976402/.

  3. The Guardian. (2000, January 20). "Norwegian becomes first to cross Antarctica alone and unaided." Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/jan/20/1.

Photo of author

Erica Silverstein

Erica, a seasoned travel writer with 20+ years of experience, started her career as a Let's Go guidebook editor in college. As the head of Cruise Critic's features team for a decade, she gained extensive knowledge. Her adventurous nature has taken her to Edinburgh, Australia, the Serengeti, and on luxury cruises in Europe and the Caribbean. During her journeys, she enjoys savoring local chocolates and conquering various summits.

Leave a Comment