Dec. 14 marks an anniversary which should not pass unnoticed.
Seventy-five years ago, on Dec. 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen discovered the "last place on Earth," the South Pole.
When he reached the Pole, Amundsen achieved the last great explorer's goal and brought to a close the age of terrestrial discovery. More than this, by at last making the Earth wholly known to its inhabitants, he freed mankind to begin to plan in earnest for its next great age of discovery: exploration beyond the limits of its own planet.
Even before Amundsen reached the Pole, that next age was being prepared in the rocketry studies of Tsiolkovsky, Goddard and others, and the foundations were being laid for the age of space exploration.
For a new age to begin, however, it required that someone bring the old age to a close; supply to mankind the last great piece of knowledge needed to complete its understanding of Earth; and, by doing so, free mankind to direct its inexhaustible spirit of exploration--inward looking and earthbound until then--to worlds beyond its own.
WALTER J. KELLY