An illustration of the ship.
The Challenger expedition' of 1872-77 was a
scientific expedition that made many discoveries to lay the
foundation of oceanography, named after
the mother vessel, HMS
by the Scot, Charles Wyville Thomson—of the
University of Edinburgh and
Castle School—the Royal
Society of London obtained the use of Challenger from
the Royal Navy and in 1872 modified it
for scientific work, equipping her with separate laboratories for
natural history and chemistry.
commanded by Captain George Nares,
sailed from Portsmouth, England, on 21 December 1872.
scientific supervision of Thomson himself, she travelled nearly
surveying and exploring. The result was the Report Of The
Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S.
Challenger during the years 1873-76
which, among many
other discoveries, catalogued over 4,000 previously unknown
species. John Murray
who supervised the publication, described the report as "the
greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the
celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries".
sailed close to Antarctica, but not within
sight of it.
Challenger returned to Spithead, Hampshire on 24 May 1876, having spent 713 days at
sea out of the intervening 1,606.
On her journey, she
conducted 492 deep sea soundings, 133 bottom dredges,
151 open water trawls, 263 serial water temperature
observations, and discovered about 4,700 new species of marine
life. Copies of the written records of the
Challenger Expedition are now stored in several marine institutions
around the UK including the National Oceanography
Centre, Southampton and the Dove Marine Laboratory in Cullercoats, Tyne and Wear.
The complete set of reports
of the Challenger Expedition, written between 1877 and 1895, are
available online at http://19thcenturyscience.org.
The Space Shuttle
was named after HMS