Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Tessa. Tessa Wonders, “Should we explore underwater or space?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Tessa!

Oh, what it must have been like to live hundreds of years ago! Most of the world was a question mark. If you had an explorer’s heart, the whole world must have seemed like one big frontier.

Vikings settled Iceland and Greenland. Christopher Columbus and John Cabot sailed to the New World. Pilgrims made their way to America. Slowly, people  made their way westward. Pioneers of all sorts made new discoveries every day.

The seas were sailed. New lands were discovered and mapped. Eventually, even the skies and outer space were explored.

But what about today? Is there any place left on Earth for the young explorers of today and tomorrow to explore? Where is the next frontier?

Believe it or not, there are still places on Earth that remain largely, if not totally, unexplored. For example, deep, dark, underground caves are some of the least explored places on Earth. Thousands of caves have been explored and documented. But thousands more have yet to be discovered or explored.

Some areas on Earth are so barren and uninhabitable that they’ve been largely ignored. What lies beneath the 2-mile-thick ice sheets of Antarctica? No one knows for sure! Scientists would love to explore below the ice, though.

Recently, scientists found evidence that hundreds of lakes lie below the thick ice. These could contain unknown forms of life. One of these lakes — Lake Vostok — is the sixth-largest lake in the world!

Other areas remain unexplored because they’re extremely difficult to reach. The Mariana Trench, for example, is the deepest and darkest place in the oceans. New technology may one day make it possible for humans to dive deep enough to explore it. Such technology would open many doors, as only about 2% of the ocean’s depths have been explored.

Scientists estimate there are about 140 million square miles of Earth that have yet to be explored. In addition to the ocean floor, there are mountaintops, steep valleys, canyons, and remote areas. Would you like to see the mountains of New Guinea? How about the deepest jungles of Africa or the Amazon? Large parts of these places have yet to be explored.

Of course, frontiers exist beyond Earth. In space, Mars could be the next frontier. Is a manned mission to Mars possible? Maybe in the future! Would you want to go to Mars one day? Why or why not? What about planets beyond Mars? Do you think it would ever be possible to explore another galaxy?

Standards: C3.D2.Geo.5, C3.D2.Geo.7, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.SL.1

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