EXPLORERS AS HEROES

Western civilization's biggest heroes for 500 years, if not longer, were those people who ventured into the unknown to gain knowledge for the benefit of humankind. The adventures, expeditions, and discoveries of explorers like Magellan, Darwin, and Shackleton inspired generations to know and see the world differently. Before there were rock stars, there were explorers, and this fascination continued well into the 20th century. 

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In the 1960's, for example, it was impossible to avoid the media footprint and influence of NASA's Gemini and Apollo programs. After the moon landing, didn't every child want to be an astronaut like Neil Armstrong? In the 1970's, how many kids (and adults) wanted to explore the ocean's depths like Jacques-Yves Cousteau? In the 1980's, how many looked up to the stars with wonder thanks to Carl Sagan? And it wasn't just male explorers, as Amelia Earhart, Nellie Bly, Rachel Carson, Sally Ride and many other women also captured the public's imagination and inspired entire generations to study hard and reach for the stars.

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Today, the media landscape is far more complex, and children can find it challenging to discover STEAM heroes among a sea of professional athletes, reality show stars, actors, and musicians. Explorer At Large strives to rekindle children's innate fascination with explorers and exploration by highlighting the great work of so many unsung heroes in the field. We seek to put the explorers of today — scientists, technicians, engineers, artists, mathematicians, and other STEAM experts — back on the pedestal on which they belong by shining our media spotlight on them and introducing generations of students to their work through XAL videos, social media, and other education-oriented content.

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