Aboard ARA Uruguay
The corvette ARA Uruguay, now moored in Puerto Madero, is one of the oldest and most historic ships in South America. She was built in 1874 by Cammell Laird in England. During her long career she was used as a gunship, as a training ship and to assert Argentina's claim to Patagonia. In 1884 she transported astronomers to observe a transit of Venus, as James Cook's Endeavour had once done. Most famously, in 1903 she ventured into the Antarctic to rescue the Swedish Antarctic Expedition.
An expedition led by Otto Nordenskjöld and Carl Anton Larsen set out for the Antarctic Peninsula in 1901. At a stop in Buenos Aires, the Argentines convinced them to bring along their Lieutenant Jose Sobral. The Swedish expedition made many discoveries among the Antarctic islands begore meeting with tragedy. Six men were left ashore on Snow Hill Island while their ship, the ANTARCTIC, sailed North to pick up supplies. On the way back South the ANTARCTIC encountered heavy ice and broke up. The ship's survivors managed to reach Paulet Island, where they too were marooned. Split into two groups of survivors and living off penguins, things were looking very bad for the Swedish Antarctic Expedition.
With their own Lieutenant Sobral among the missing, the Argentines resolved to mount a rescue. ARA Uruguay was quickly refitted for Antarctic conditions and set off in October 1903. Following the trail of the lost expedition, ARA Uruguay managed to rescue both parties. Encountering a severe storm on the way back, the damaged ARA Uruguay returned to Puerto Santa Cruz in December 1903. Finally survivors and rescuers returned to Buenos Aires and a hero's welcome.
Future expeditions on Mars may also have to wait 26 months for rescue. Laws of orbital mechanics ensure there will be many months between relief missions. Unlike the Moon, there will be no medevac to Earth is someone is ill or injured. The surface of Mars is cold as Antarctica, but there are in situ resources of water and oxygen. Bacterial life survives even in the dry valleys. Expeditions to the Antarctic may someday be preparation for another planet.