June 6th, 2009
The moon is a beautiful site, hanging in the sky, seeming so far away. It is exceptionally beautiful over the ocean, where we are. 40 years ago this year, a man by the name of Neil Armstrong, and a few other brave men after him, walked on the moon through the most amazing scientific effort our country has ever gone through. Thousands of people worked very hard to put Neil Armstrong on the moon, though they don’t always get the credit they deserve.
A similar situation exists around the JOIDES Resolution. 40 years after putting a man on the moon, we still know more about the moon than we do about our own seafloor. But there are hundreds of dedicated people working to change that with the JR. While many thousands of scientists have sailed on the JR over the years, and many will in coming years, they are not who I am talking about.
Aboard the Resolution right now we have 29 scientists, 25 Technicians, 15 catering staff and 55 crew for a total of 124 people. That means that there are 95 people working very hard to support the 29 scientists, doing everything from making food, to making sure the engine is working, to helping keeping the scientific equipment working properly, to actually drilling the seafloor. Without them, we would not be able to do anything we do out here. They don’t always get the recognition or attention they deserve, but they are appreciated by every scientist who has sailed on the JOIDES Resolution.
Those are just the people of the ship. There are literally hundreds of people on shore that work everyday to make sure the JR is able to operate everyday and do the best science it possible can. They have jobs like arranging travel for everyone to the ship, or planning the ports and routes that the JR will take, or seeing to it that the scientists can talk to people like you via this website. They don’t sail on the ship, but the ship couldn’t sail without them.
Tonight we watched the International Space Station (or ISS for short) cross the sky over us. The ISS is a place where people live in space! They are up there everyday, doing science, and helping us learn about our planet. They didn’t get there by themselves, and I am sure they are aware of the thousands of people who have worked to get them up there and bring them back down to Earth safely.
As they passed over, I couldn’t help but wonder if they could see us, since we are the only bright spot for hundreds of miles in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (and believe me, the lights on this ship are very bright). I wonder if they looked down and realized that, like them, there were people who were thousands of miles from home, doing science to help us understand our planet. And like them, we couldn’t be doing what we are doing without the help of hundreds of people working tirelessly behind the scenes.
From the decks of the JOIDES Resolution, to those people, I want to say ‘Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you’.