Ronnie Smith, Sled Dogs Make National Geographic

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The southernmost aeronautical waypoints between Antarctica and New Zealand, renamed by Col. Ronnie Smith. - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
  • National Geographic
  • The southernmost aeronautical waypoints between Antarctica and New Zealand, renamed by Col. Ronnie Smith.

Last fall, Air Force Colonel Ronnie Smith succeeded in his campaign to rename the aeronautical waypoints between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station, the U.S. base in Antarctica, after Roald Amundsen's sled dogs and Robert Falcon Scott's ponies.

Now the project has been written up in National Geographic, which reports,

Aviation historian Roger Connor says coordinates are often named for local history and as inside jokes. But few earn the approval of scientific bodies and air authorities alike; fewer still are honored by the U.S. secretary of state, as happened last fall.

While none of Scott's ponies advanced very far into the Antarctic interior -- they couldn't handle the ice and snow and had to be shot -- seventeen of Amundsen's dogs made it to the South Pole on December 11, 1911.

Sadly, Antarctica today is a no-dog zone because of distemper risks.

Riverfront Times profiled Smith, who is also a poet, in the January, 2010, article "Poetry in a Cold Climate".

Nat Geographic Dog Map

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