December 2023 – Volume Twenty-Nine, Number Twelve

Celebrating our 29th year!


EXPEDITION NEWS, founded in 1994, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.

Eman Ghoneim is leading a team to Egypt to discover and map Nile River branches.

(Photo courtesy of Eman Ghoneim) 



Eman Ghoneim, University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) professor of earth and ocean sciences, will lead an interdisciplinary team from the U.S., Australia and Egypt to discover and map previously unknown branches of the Nile River near the ancient Egyptian Meidum Pyramid Complex.

"The Meidum Pyramid, built by Pharaoh Snefru, was the first known attempt in Egyptian history to construct a true, smooth-sided pyramid," according to the release from UNCW. "The research team aims to explain the possible cause of the 4000-year-old pyramid’s partial collapse and abandonment in antiquity."  

Eman Ghoneim, University of North Carolina Wilmington

(UNCW) professor of earth and ocean sciences.

Ghoneim said in the release … “research of this kind could drastically improve our cultural heritage conservation measures and raise awareness of these ancient sites in the context of modern development planning.” 

The team will collect geomorphological, geophysical, and deep soil coring data and conduct radiocarbon dating.

"Ghoneim hopes to produce the first complete map of the ancient Nile branches near the pyramid site and determine if these former waterways were simultaneously active at the time of the pyramid’s construction," the release stated.


The expedition is funded by an Explorers Club Discovery Grant awarded to Ghoneim through its partnership between The Explorers Club and Warner Bros. Discovery. 

Read the complete announcement:



Reid Stowe believes his years of experience at sea makes him an ideal astronaut for a long-haul trip to Mars. (Photo: Will Pavia)

After Over 1,000 Days at Sea, Reid Stowe Sets Course for Mars

Reid Stowe, 71, who spent 1,000 days at sea and holds the record for the longest ocean voyage, now wants to command the first human mission Mars. Having survived 1,152 days at sea in 2007-2010 without touching land (see EN, June 2010) he believes he’s uniquely qualified to command the most challenging, remote and extreme expedition ever undertaken.

To that end, he volunteered his services to Elon Musk, the head of SpaceX, whom he sees is the man most likely to pick the captain of such a mission. The response to his offer was mixed, according to a story in London’s The Times.

One observer scoffed, “It’s going to be a veteran astronaut. It’s not going to be someone who is a sailboat captain.”

Plus, there’s the matter of Stowe’s age by the time the first Mars mission launches in at least a decade or more. Stowe would be no younger than 81. His request to Musk is likened to Christopher Columbus appealing to the king and queen of Spain to fund a 1492 voyage to the New World.

Reid, on the other hand, thinks his age counts in his favor. “I’ve had a full complete life working my way towards this. It’s the most exciting thing I can imagine, to lead the way for humanity, to become a multiplanetary species.”

Knowing Stowe as we do, we believe he will find one way or another to become involved in future space exploration.

Watch Stowe’s presentation to the 2023 Mars Society conference at Arizona State University in Tempe last October here:


In 1965 and 1967, two groups of Apollo astronauts traveled to Iceland to study the lunar-like geology. Among the astronauts in the 1967 group was Neil Armstrong, second from left, with his Icelandic hosts. The training would later inspire the creation of a small museum in Iceland and its Leif Erikson awards.

Iceland Exploration Museum Announces Leif Erikson Honorees

The tiny Northern Iceland fishing and whale-watching village of Husavik is known for more than the shooting location of the quirky 2020 Netflix film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Sagathe story of two Húsavík natives representing Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest.   

Nearby, Apollo astronauts trained for moon missions in the 1960s. And it’s here that the small Iceland Exploration Museum has honored various leaders in the exploration community. Every year since 2015, the museum in Húsavík has awarded explorers and organizations that have made history in exploration, or achieved a scientific breakthrough in space exploration. 

The 2023 recipients are:

December 24, 1968, from the crew of Apollo 8. The famous Earthrise photo isn’t really an Earthrise. From any one spot on the moon’s near side, Earth doesn’t rise or set, but simply hangs in one spot in the lunar sky. The astronauts saw Earth rise because they were moving in a spacecraft above the moon’s surface. (Credit:

Leif Erikson Award

Astronaut Bill Anders is awarded the 2023 Leif Erikson Award for his photograph Earthrise, one of the most influential environmental photographs ever taken. In 1968, coming around from the far side of the Moon for the fourth time, Anders captured the iconic picture of the Earth, appearing to be rising over the Lunar surface. 

Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award

Aerospace and technology professional and popular science communicator Kellie Gerardi is awarded the 2023 Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award for her work conducting bioastronautics research and spacesuit evaluation in microgravity with the International Institute of Astronautical Sciences. On November 2, 2023 Kellie made her first flight into space aboard Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity (See EN, November 2023). 

Leif Erikson Exploration History Award

Engineer and author Libby Jackson is awarded the 2023 Leif Erikson Exploration History Award for her tireless dedication to preserving the history of female astronauts and space professionals. Her book Galaxy Girls tells the stories of 50 amazing women who have shaped the history of Space Exploration. She worked as a flight instructor and controller for the International Space Station and currently serves as the Head of Space Exploration for the UK Space Agency.

On Aug. 23, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 mission landed on the moon, making India the fourth nation after the United States, the Soviet Union, and China to successfully touch down

on the lunar surface with a robotic craft.

Leif Erikson Lunar Prize

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is awarded the 2023 Leif Erikson Lunar Prize for the Chandrayaan-3 mission, the first soft landing of a spacecraft near the Lunar South Pole, and for becoming only the fourth nation in the world to achieve a soft landing on the surface of the Moon. 

The Explorers Festival 2023 takes place this year on Dec. 9-10, 2023.

Learn more about the museum here:

A full list of recipients of the Leif Erikson Awards can be found here:



To die is easy, very easy. It is only hard to strive, to endure, to live.


– Adolphus Greeley (1844-1935) from his journal. Source: The Explorers Club: A Visual Journey Through the Past, Present and Future of Exploration (Ten Speed Press, 2023)



The Bodily Indignities of the Space Life

The race is on to put hotels in space and neighborhoods on the moon. Kim Tingley writes in the New York Times (Nov.12) about what happens to the human body when it slips the surly bonds of Earth (hint: it’s not pretty).

“While hypoxia is potentially a real threat should your space vessel or extraterrestrial habitat leak, it’s a manageable one (assuming you haven’t leaped naked out of your space capsule or off-world dwelling). But two other major challenges confront our fragile bodies when we leave our planet, neither of which has been entirely solved yet, even indoors: variable gravity and radiation,” Tingley writes.

Tingley reports that the 24 astronauts who have flown beyond the magnetosphere have died of cardiovascular disease at a rate four to five times as high as that of their counterparts who stayed in low Earth orbit or never entered orbit at all, which suggests that exposure to cosmic radiation might have damaged their arteries, veins and capillaries.

Space tourism promises to offer opportunities to study the effects of radiation and low gravity on a much broader demographic than “really well-selected superpeople,” she writes in reference to well-trained, mostly male, astronauts.

The reporter reveals the I.S.S. tends to smell like body odor or farts. You can’t shower, and microgravity prevents digestive gases from rising out of the stew of other juices in your stomach and intestines, making it hard to belch without barfing. Because the gas must exit somehow, the frequency and volume (metric and decibel) of flatulence increases.

Tingley likens being in space to the pandemic lockdowns many people experienced in 2020, except you can’t open a window or take a walk outdoors.

Read the story here:

Mike Massimino thought he was going to cry.

An Astronaut With “Bad Eyesight and a Fear of Heights”


As a NASA astronaut, Mike Massimino spacewalked four times to repair the Hubble Space Telescope before retirement in 2014. Lessons learned in space inspired Massimino’s new book, Moonshot (Hachette Go, 2023)

His colorful yarns from his years at NASA – when he cracked his space helmet as a rookie trying to show off, or nearly crashed while co-piloting a T-38 Talon supersonic jet by not speaking up when he sensed something was wrong – make larger points about moving forward despite missteps, according to the Wall Street Journal story by Emily Bobrow (Nov. 24).

“I was a gangly, scrawny, working-class kid from Long Island with bad eyesight and a fear of heights,” he writes. He notes that people are often surprised to learn he’s been to space because, as he quipped in his bestselling 2016 memoir, Spaceman, he looks “like a guy who’d be working at a deli in Brooklyn, handing out cold cuts.”

When Massimino accidentally stripped the bolt head of a screw during what would be the last mission to fix the Hubble, he recalls being “hit by a tsunami of shame, guilt, disbelief and regret.” His blunder threatened to squander years of planning and millions of taxpayer dollars to restore part of the telescope’s function. Yet he practiced something he learned from a NASA colleague called the Thirty Second Rule: beating himself up for no more than 30 seconds before returning to the task at hand.

Massimino remembers feeling so moved by the beauty of our planet during his second mission that he worried he would cry and have the tears floating inside his suit.

Massimino trained for six years before his first NASA flight, but he thinks space tourism is a good thing. Private shuttles will expand opportunities for scientific research, he says, and the experience of seeing Earth as a fragile, life-giving orb tends to leave people changed. “The more people that go, the better off we’ll be,” he tells the WSJ reporter.

Read the full story here:


Adventure Scientists Sign Ski Deal

Adventure Scientists launched a partnership with Peak Ski Company which is supporting its work by selling special Adventure Scientists logo custom-branded 23/24 model skis. Peak will donate $300 of each custom ski purchase to Adventure Scientists (

To help accelerate solutions to environmental challenges around the world, Adventure Scientists recruits and trains volunteers, including outdoor enthusiasts and community members, to help scientists and conservation leaders scale their data collection while skirting the often costly, time-consuming, and physically demanding aspects of collecting field data in direct support of Adventure Scientists.

“As a backcountry skier and field biologist, I’ve personally seen how recreation and conservation complement one another. The ski community is an essential part of our mission,” said Gregg Treinish, founder and Executive Director of Adventure Scientists. 

Peak’s high-performance all-mountain and backcountry skis are for skiers of all ability levels and are only available direct-to-consumer.

For more information:


2023 NOBA winners.

Winners of the 2023 National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) Announced


A riveting 1937 river journey of two women botanists through the Grand Canyon.  A vivid recounting of the disastrous 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition.  A captivating story of Arctic explorers and brawling newspaper tycoons, all too happy to distort facts to sell papers.  These and more are among the winners of 2023 National Outdoor Books.  


A total of sixteen books were chosen as winners in this year's contest which is now in its twenty-seventh year.  Sponsors of the program include the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.


Among the winners of interest to the exploration community are:


• History Biography Category – Brave the Wild River by Melissa Sevigny.  This is a fascinating account of two women who in 1937 undertook the first serious study of plants in the Grand Canyon.  It’s about the struggle of women trying to make it in the scientific world counterpoised against the timeless beauty of the canyon and a gripping ride down the rapids of the Colorado River.    


The other History/Biography category winner is Empire of Ice & Stone by Buddy Levy.  In this historical work, Levy chronicles the story of the ill-fated 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition.  Shortly after getting underway, the expedition ship is crushed by ice.  The crew must find their way to a remote island – and, once there, somehow go for help.


• Outdoor Literature Category – One of two winners in the category is Battle of Ink and Ice by Darrell Hartman. Hartman writes of the rivalry between two dominant New York newspapers.  Each paper supports a different American explorer. Both explorers have claimed to have reached the North Pole – but had they Meticulously researched, and superbly told, it is a fascinating story of newspaper tycoons, ambitious explorers, and the vast unknown reaches of the frozen north.


• Classic CategoryEverest the West Ridge by Thomas Hornbein. Originally published shortly after the 1963 American expedition to Everest, the book recounts one of the most remarkable ascents in all of Himalayan history. Reissued on the book’s fiftieth anniversary by the Mountaineers Books, it is beautifully designed with all of the original text and photography.


Complete reviews of these and the other 2023 winners may be found at the National Outdoor Book Awards website at:




Omaha steaks. Scented candles. Neckties that no one wears any longer. Moose head coat racks. Excuse us while we hit the snooze button. These rather pedestrian gift ideas may be fine for a La-Z-Boy jockey, but for the explorers in your life, you need to step up your game and get creative for the holidays.

EN to the rescue with some gift suggestions any budding Heyerdahl would love to see under the tree. Some of these products go way off-piste with their prices, but Christmas comes but once a year.

Getting Caird Away

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so keep your favorite explorer busy during the off-season building this James Caird model boat kit.

The model kit of Shackleton’s James Caird is double planked and comes with highly detailed building instructions with extensive color photos showing every step on the model boat’s construction.

And when he or she finishes the James Caird, Modelers Central will be ready to ship out a $215 model of the Endurance. ($239,

It’s a Phone, It’s a Brooch


Lord knows, busy explorers have their hands’ full. They’ve got to hold fast to sledges, clear goggles, wipe snot, and shout instructions to teammates. The new AI pin is just the ticket, a perfect gift for the explorer in your life.


Humane’s aluminum wearable device, called the Ai Pin, can take photos and send texts, uses a laser to project a visual interface onto a person’s palm, and comes with a virtual assistant that can be as sharp as ChatGPT.

By always being ready to search the web and communicate, it is supposed to quash dependency on smartphones, while looking like a stylish two-ounce tin of mints that may or may not pass muster with the fashion police. ($699 plus $24 monthly subscription,

Check This, Mate: Chess Board is Earthquake Proof

You’re playing chess at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and there’s an earthquake or two. Or three. What do you do?

With the new VentureBoard, you just fold up the game, insert it in the cup holder of your backpack, and skedaddle.

The nine-ounce VentureBoard rolls up with a clever patent-pending design to save games for later while strong neodymium magnets keep pieces firmly in place. We don’t know about you, but one can’t have enough neodymium in their kit, especially when hanging on a ledge for three days in a Himalayan snowstorm. ($52,

Two cool Pole cats


Barbie, Schmarbie

Don’t raise your kids on Barbie this Christmas. Teach them history with a set of Peary-Henson dolls. These plush soft sculpture dolls were made exclusively for the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum in Brunswick, Maine, featuring Arctic explorers Robert E. Peary (right) and Matthew A. Henson.

Who was first to the North Pole? Who cares? Maybe they were holding hands at the time, if they even actually made it to the actual Pole – the jury is still out on that one. ($35,

The Rotational Churchill

I’ve Got the Whole Word in My Hands

Globes have been described as beguiling objects full of detail, color and wonder. Thor Heyerdahl and Peter Freuchen famously used one at The Explorers Club to plan their expeditions. So why not send a globe to your favorite explorer?

Bellerby & Company’s North London boutique makes globes by hand, the largest with a diameter of more than four feet, so perfectly balanced they will spin for two minutes. 

The trick is in the gores, the surfboard-shaped map sections printed and carefully laid flat with a scalpel and glue. It is delightfully analog. (£71,000,

Gingle Bells

Now that you’ve bought your favorite explorer a complicated ship model, a high tech brooch, a roll-up chess set, two stuffed dolls, and a globe worth more than a Volvo, kick back and enjoy it all with a drink made of Explorer’s Gin.

It contains 15 botanicals including juniper, angelica seed, Western Red Cedar, lemon, orange, grapefruit, pink peppercorn, Szechuan pepper, verbena, fennel, liquorice – as if you could tell one from another once you take a sip of your Orange Blossom cocktail.  


The gin was inspired by the Golden Age of Exploration, when from the 15th century through to the 17th century European ships traveled around the world generally exploring things … and mucking up a few cultures in the process. It’s a great accompaniment to a sleigh-full of perfect holidays gifts this year. (£45,



Oops, We Were Twenty Years Off


Last month, EN  ran the incorrect year for 18-year-old Anastatia Mayers’ flight to space with her mother on Virgin Galactic. It was 2023, not 2003. Virgin Galactic wasn’t founded until one year later in 2004. The mother-daughter duo won two spaceflight tickets in a charity raffle that benefited Space for Humanity. The Eagle-Eyed Award goes to Iris Fisher of Montreal for noticing the error.


It Was a First, Not a Record


Also in last month’s issue, we were taken to the woodshed over a slightly misleading headline above our story about the Arctic Cowboys. We wrote, “Arctic Cowboys Lasso Northwest Passage Record.” Expedition leader West Hansen, who led the first self-propelled adventurers to navigate the entire Northwest Passage, writes, “With regards to the title of the article, we didn't set a record. Records can be broken and our achievement was a first, which can't be broken.

He continues, “I've always separated what we as explorers do versus those who seek records, though I don't see anything wrong with record seeking or setting/breaking records. I hold several speed records in some paddling races, for which I'm very proud.”


Don Walsh was a beloved member of The Explorers Club.

The Unsinkable Don Walsh

1931 - 2023


The exploration community mourns the passing of Explorers Club Medalist Captain Don Walsh who died on Nov. 12, quietly while sitting in his favorite chair at his home in Myrtle Point, Oregon. He was 92. He made his breakfast and settled into his morning routine, then fell asleep and never woke up, according to Geoff Green of Students on Ice. “For those of us that knew Don, it just seemed like he would live forever.”


Walsh, alongside Jacques Piccard, became the first human to the bottom of the deepest point in the ocean, the 10,916-meter Challenger Deep.


Walsh was an explorer, oceanographer, lecturer, and former submarine captain in the U.S. Navy. His polar experience began with trips to the Arctic in 1955 and the Antarctic with the Navy’s Deep Freeze in 1971. He worked at both North and South Poles and completed a 74-day circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent. The Walsh Spur (near Cape Hallett) was named for him in recognition of his contributions to the U.S. Antarctic Research Program.


“One of our five Famous Firsts, Don quite literally set the standard by which we measure ourselves as explorers,” eulogizes Richard Garriott, Club president.  


“First to the Poles, First to Everest, First to the Moon – when we walk on Mars, that accomplishment will be in no small part due to the runway laid by Don, and an indomitable generation of trailblazers like him who have made this Club what it is today.”


Green continues, “I will miss seeing him, our phone calls, his humor, his advice, his perspective, his irreverence, his curiosity, and more. A true iconic legend that has left a huge lasting legacy. His long list of accomplishments and accolades are extraordinary.”


Adds Garriott, “Don’s legacy casts an indelible shadow across the history of field science and exploration, but it is his lifelong commitment to education and his propensity to mentor the next generation of explorers which truly sets him apart.”


Read more about the unsinkable Don Walsh here: #donwalsh

Travel With Purpose, A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield) by Jeff Blumenfeld ­– Travel has come roaring back and so has voluntourism. Be ready to lend a hand wherever you go. How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? Read excerpts and “Look Inside” at:
Get Sponsored! – Need money for your next project? Read about proven techniques that will help you find both cash and in-kind sponsors. If the trip is bigger than you, and is designed to help others, well, that’s half the game right there. Read Jeff Blumenfeld’s "Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers." (Skyhorse Publishing).
Buy it here:

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