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.

Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World. Pilgrims made their way to America. Once settled, the new Americans slowly 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. While thousands of caves have been explored and documented, thousands and 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 have found evidence that hundreds of lakes lie below the thick ice, which 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 floors, these areas include mountaintops, steep valleys and canyons and remote areas, such as the mountains of New Guinea and the deepest jungles of Africa and the Amazon.

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?

24 Join the Discussion

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  1. I like this wonder because it is very interesting. But what about a wonder about how many Jennifer’s are in the world and why the name is so famous?. ;)

  2. Michelle and I think the video is unique and it would be fun to explore new places, especially other continents.

    • WOW, we think you would be GREAT explorers, Lesley and Michelle! We Wonder if you have a place in particular that you’d like to travel to? It would be an adventure to discover the great unknown– we’re so happy that you’re WONDERing with us! :)

    • Hey there, Billie! Being an explorer would be a great adventure, we agree with you! It sounds very fun to be a part of discovering something new… we Wonder if you have a certain place that you would like to travel to? What kind of exploring would you do? :)

    • HOORAY! We are glad you enjoyed WONDERing about the next frontier with us, Mackenzie B! It’s so much fun when you can Wonder and learn something new, too! Happy Halloween! :)

    • You’d certainly need to dress appropriately, Dakota J! You make a great point! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! Happy Halloween! :)

    • How cool, Paris B! We Wonder if you’d like to be an explorer when you grow up? We think it would be a SUPER adventure to explore the next frontier! :)

  3. With the technology we can travel to a different galaxy but what if we don’t have the equipment? IT’S STILL AMAZING ON HOW THESE explorers are discovering these caves and etc.

    • Technology is always changing, isn’t it Diavion B? We know there are lots of researchers, explorers and scientists who are light years ahead in technological research. We were also amazed by these explorers– we Wonder if you have a place that you’d like to explore on your own? :)

    • HOORAY, we’re excited that our exploring Wonder brought out the adventurer in you, Kadija! Thank you for sharing your comment, we’re happy that we have inspired the Wonder within you! Have a great day! :)

    • There are lots of cool places to explore, dante! Is exploring the next frontier something you would be interested in doing in the future? We are glad you enjoyed learning and WONDERing with us today! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Where is the next frontier?
  • Are there any places left on Earth to explore?
  • Where would you like to explore?

Wonder Gallery

shutterstock_32967091Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Would you like to be an explorer when you grow up? Did you know you can be an explorer right now? It’s true!

Take time to explore the world around you. There are probably parts of your own house, such as the attic or the basement, that you’ve never really explored before. There are certainly parts of your neighborhood and town that you probably haven’t experienced. So grab a friend or family member and explore what’s nearby.

Learning more about the world around you might inspire you to create a dream for future exploration. If you could explore a new frontier in the future, where would you go? Space? The depths of the sea? Somewhere else?

Head over to Facebook and tell your Wonder Friends where you’d like to explore. We can’t wait to see what you think the next frontier is!

Still Wondering

Visit Smithsonian’s History Explorer to check out the Gouverneur Warren’s Expedition interactive activity. Join Gouverneur Warren on his 1856 expedition into the American frontier and identify the specimens he sent back to the Smithsonian for study.

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is the real deal!

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