H M S Challenger Scientific Expedition

The Space Shuttle Challenger, the lunar module Challenger, and the Glomar Challenger (on which I had the pleasure of working) are named after H M S Challenger, the vessel that was the platform for the first oceanographic expedition. Taking almost four years (December 1872 to May 1876) and logging over 68,000 miles, this ship and her crew circumnavigated the world taking samples from over three hundred locations (follow the journey here). A massive fifty volume reports series was eventually published; it took almost two decades to print it all. A linked index to all the reports as well as additional publications pertaining to the epic voyage are available. Three very readable; i.e., not scientific, works are The log letters of the “Challenger” (1876), The Cruise of H.M.S. Challenger (1878) and the profusely illustrated Preliminary Account: The Atlantic, Vol. I and Vol II (1878) that features woodcuts of the ships’ working laboratories. Please look at the July 31, 1875 edition of the Pacific commercial advertiser (Honolulu) for some fascinating information on the voyage.

 

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