Ever since our species left Africa some 60,000 years ago, the urge to push beyond what’s known—to discover new lands and opportunities—has shaped human culture. And that impulse is still strong.
As we celebrate the National Geographic Society’s 125th anniversary, we’re kicking off a year of stories about the new age of exploration. In this issue we consider the origins of our restless spirit; we examine new realms of life at the microscopic scale; we reach deep into the universe, searching for worlds like our own; we urgently document nature’s diversity, even as it vanishes before our eyes. Exploration is alive.
View of earth from Apollo 11. Photo: NASA
Climbing is akin to love. It’s hard to explain; we endure pain for the joy that comes with discovering ourselves and the planet.”
The places I explore often seem to belong to another planet. I feel small, totally in awe of the forces of creation.”
Every time I go in the water I don’t know what I’ll find. And always I return amazed at the animals that let me into their world.”
National Geographic Stock
Fifty years ago we didn’t have the technology to run these rivers. Fifty years from now many could be dammed. Now is the time to explore them and hope others follow.”
Lucas J. Gilman