Astrolabe. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–A. Kumar
Didier Schmitt is a member of the space Task Force at the European External Action Service. He is a regular opinion writer in major newspapers and magazines and has published a book on foresight. He will be contributing to this blog during his visit to Concordiam – this entry was sent from the Antarctic Ocean:
Even though the Astrolabe is a medium-size ship (65 m) it is not easy to find your way at first. It reminds me of the movie Alien. The boat is indeed like a spacecraft, fully autonomous and meant for expeditions. We had ample time to get familiar with the ship as we were grounded in Hobart waiting for a helicopter and its pilots to arrive. We had another 24-hour wait afterwards due to a strong storm.
Like in space programmes, there are numerous nationalities. On board we have: Australians, French, Indonesians, Italians, Japanese, Spanish, Swiss, Ukrainians, and Americans.
Astrolabe in the waves. Credits: ESA–D. Schmitt
Half a day after departure sea sickness kicked in, much like space sickness on the International Space Station. At least half of our crewmates do not
show up on the main deck, even though the waves ...