The Explorers Club: Inside the world’s most elite group of adventurers
By Kate Springer, CNN
7 minute read
8:59 PM EDT, Tue April 9, 2019
The Explorers Club: Established in 1904, the New York-based Explorers Club is an elite group of explorers and scientists that's been involved in many of the world's most prestigious discoveries.
Not a travel club: "It's not some sort of holiday service or travel club, which some people seem to think. It's very much about being a self-starter and gathering the right people and resources together [for extensive, scientific-driven expeditions] to turn your ideas into reality," says Matt Prior, director of the Hong Kong chapter of the Explorers Club.
Important discoveries: Counting just over 3,500 members worldwide, the Explorer's Club is involved in the realms of astronomy, archeology, physics, ethnology, paleontology, zoology, geography and much more.
An impressive crowd: Those who pass the vetting process will be surrounded by an impressive crowd. Members have been among the first to reach the North Pole, summit Mount Everest and walk on the moon.
Hong Kong Chapter: In 2018, the Explorers Club Hong Kong Chapter, together with the Mongolian Institute of Paleontology and Geology, went on a fossil excavation expedition to the Gobi Desert.
Gobi Desert: The Gobi Desert is the largest desert in Asia, accounting for roughly 30% of Mongolia as well as a good portion of northern China.
High-tech expedition: The teams used NASA technologies, such as drone-mapping, multispectral and thermal imaging -- the same technology used to explore Mars -- to collect data and help identity fossil sites.
Roy Chapman Andrews Centennial Expedition: The expedition was named after American naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews, who came across a nest of dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert over a century ago.
A great success: On the 20-day Roy Chapman Andrews Centennial Expedition, the 35-person team found potential evidence of at least three previously unknown dinosaur species and excavated 250 new dinosaur fossil sites.
First in the world: Thanks to the successful discoveries, the Explorers Club's Hong Kong chapter -- established in 2016 -- was awarded the prestigious Citation of Merit at the Explorers Club annual dinner. It's the first of the 32 chapters around the world to achieve this merit.
Many adventures: This is just one of the club's many adventures. Together, they've hiked through the snowy mountains of Kazakhstan, skied the remote mountains of Kashmir and, later this year, will embark on a new mission to uncover underwater civilizations in Indonesia.
Membership criteria: Getting into the highly exclusive club requires extensive experience, including participation in "one or more documented scientific expeditions."
Lifelong adventurer: A former Royal Air Force pilot, in 2006 Matt Prior drove a US$200 Suzuki car from London to Mongolia -- an adventure that set him on the path he's on today.