Copyright © 2006 by Kent Nebergall. Published by The Mars Society with permission.
LESSONS IN POLAR EXPLORATION – CAMP CENTURY AND THE ANTARCTIC SNOW CRUISER
Trenches are dug in the surface. Two dozen habitats capable of supporting a population of 200 are placed within and buried, then linked with tunnels. A nuclear reactor is assembled and powers the cold remote outpost. Extensive scientific work is completed, including core samples that influence understanding of the history of the planet for the remainder of the century. The moon in 2030? Mars in 2040? Try Greenland - 1960. Welcome to Camp Century - the US Army's city under the ice.
A rover larger than a semi is unloaded to explore a remote frozen world. It is designed to operate for over a year with crew of four, and trek over 5000 miles of uncharted landscape with a form of hybrid electric propulsion. It even carries an aerial survey craft on its top deck to allow the crew to map the terrain ahead. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser - Built in Chicago in 1939 to explore Antarctica.
This is a survey of the technologies, successes, failures, and attitudes behind some of the most ambitious exploration projects before the moon landings.