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The Pioneer Who Died for the South Pole

A century ago, British Naval Officer Robert Falcon Scott sought to lead the first team to the South Pole. He and his men raced through miserable conditions and struggled with frostbite, the death of their ponies and a shortage of food, only to discover that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen beat them by five weeks.

Soon into the return trip, one of his men went insane and another disappeared. A final letter to Scott's wife reveals his unwillingness to succumb to the elements. Although neither he nor any of his men made it through the journey, the scientific data he collected survived. Scientists continue to rely on it today.

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Daniel Zwerdling is a correspondent in NPR's Investigations Unit.