Santa’s icy home has long been a challenge for explorers. Starting in the 1700′s, people tried, and failed, to create trade routes through the icy area as well as for the simple glory of going where no one had gone before.
The first to succeed in reaching his destination was Robert Peary, in 1909. His exhibition was proven in 2005 when British explorer Tom Avery duplicated his journey, using period equipment, and managed to reach the Pole five hours sooner than Peary.
In recent years, trips to the pole have been mounted for science, but also to raise awareness about climate change. Though the North Pole is warmer than the South Pole because it is surrounded by water, the ice that exists there has become thinner as the impact of our changing environment is felt. Some scientists are even concerned that the ice will soon melt away completely during the summer months, impacting the climate as well as politics as countries vie for that sought-after territory.
Now, 15-year-old Parker Liautaud is about to set off on his own trip. If he succeeds, he’ll be one of the youngest people to have reached the pole accompanied only by a guide. Find out more about the arctic in the gallery, then follow Parker on his journey at the Facebook link below.
This is a photo released by Push Pictures showing British explorer and endurance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh in the waters of the North Pole Sunday July 15, 2007. Pugh took to the freezing waters in just his Speedo swimming briefs, cap and goggles to highlight the devastating impact of climate change on the natural world. It took him 18 minutes and 50 seconds to swim 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) in in waters created by melted sea ice at temperatures of minus 1.8C
(AP Photo / Jason Roberts, Push Pictures)
In this Sunday, July 2, 2006 photo provided by Greenpeace via Zuma Press, American explorers, Lonnie Dupre, left, and Eric Larsen hold up a U.S. flag claiming to become the first-ever to complete a trek to the North Pole in summer. The duo undertook the expedition to bring attention to the plight of the polar bear which scientists claim could be extinct as early as 2050 due to the effects of global warming.
(AP Photo/Greenpeace, ZUMA Press, Eric Larsen)
This graphic released by the National Geographic Society Tuesday Jan. 14, 1997 is part of oceanographic study by the U.S. and Russia on the Arctic Ocean. This cross-section Arctic Ocean map, combining U.S. and Russian data, represents a transect of Arctic waters, red line, showing an area in Greenland, left, where warmer surface water is pulled in and cooled, forming a mass of deep ocean water. By releasing the information, both nations hope to help scientists around the world who are investigating environmental questions such as global warming.
(AP Photo/National Geographic Society)
In this undated photo released by Polar Challenge via the Ben Bulletin, teams of skiers in the Polar Challenge plod ahead on their way to the magnetic north pole.
(AP Photo/Polar Challenge via Bend Bulletin)
This photo provided by the Bancroft Arnesen Explore shows Ann Bancroft of Minnesota talking on a satellite phone during a North Pole expedition with Norwegian Liv Arnesen in Ward Hunt Island, Canada, Tuesday, March 6, 2007. What was intended to be a 530 mile (853 kilometers) trek across the Arctic Ocean to bring attention to global warming was called off March 10, after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes.
(AP Photo/Bancroft Arnesen Expedition, Hunter Bancroft)