I had a fairly good idea of the work to be done onboard, as
one of my colleagues Dinesh, sailed on the same vessel a couple of months ago.
But, it was only after we boarded the vessel on the first day of this month,
that I realized the great responsibility bestowed upon us as being one of the
members of the ‘Shipboard Scientific Party’. Soon after we boarded the vessel,
and got a couple of hours to settle in our home for the next two months, we
assembled in the conference hall to attend the first of a series of meetings.
We were apprised of the general nitty gritty of the life on board followed by a
tour of the ship conducted by our Staff Scientist Denise. I was awed to see the
fine scientific facilities available onboard, better than many of the
institutions, in such a limited space. The idea is to collect as much
preliminary information as possible, before the scientists start detailed work
on these samples. It is for this very reason that a groups of ~30 odd experts
drawn from different fields of geology tirelessly work for two months in
testing conditions. The preliminary data generated onboard is the backbone and
the starting point for any further work on the samples, which makes our work
extremely important. The series of meetings was an attempt to make us realize
this responsibility. I was overwhelmed to see the enthusiasm of the shipboard
people to work on the samples we intend to collect. Of course there were
overlaps with several people planning to work on a similar set of samples using
same techniques (technically speaking ‘Proxies’), something which our
expedition Co-Chiefs have to figure out, again through a series of meetings.
So, here we are attending meetings, learning, practicing and getting ready to work on our first set
of cores, as and when it arrives, most likely on Friday afternoon.