The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice

In 1961—the year before he became the anchorman for CBS News—Walter Cronkite visited Camp Century, an unusual military compound on the Greenland ice sheet. Carved under the snow and ice, Camp Century had a main street and prefab housing for 250 soldiers and scientists—all powered by a pint-sized nuclear reactor. To get there, Cronkite endured a multiday haul from the edge of the ice sheet by “wanigan”—a heated, insulated trailer hitched to a massive Caterpillar tractor traveling at the speed of a slow-walking human. Cronkite’s televised report was wide-eyed at the base’s scale and audacity—there were mess halls, a church, and even the hair-cutting services of a barber named Jordon. When Cronkite asked Camp Century’s commanding officer, Tom Evans, about …