2009 is a very special year what with Darwin's 200th birthday (12th February) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (24th November) ...so special and so long awaited in fact that I'm still rubbing my eyes and blinking in surprise that it's actually here and that Darwin's big birthday is just a month and a half away.
In addition to enjoying the celebrations and using them to promote science, reason and a more universal passion for the natural world, we will keep working hard to see that it's a very very special year for the Beagle Project.
Over the last several years we have been slowly but very steadily ramping up our activities: raising awareness, building collaborations, raising basic operating funds to keep us chugging along and, most importantly, building up our fundraising capacity so that we can take advantage of the outpouring of Darwinmania that 2009 is bound to offer so that when 2009 is over, which will happen faster than you can say "there is grandeur in this view of life", we will have begun building the ship that will serve as a tangible long-term legacy to this anniversary season.
We've come a long way already, as documented in the archives of this and our old blog. Just this year we became a registered charity, entered into an International Space Act Agreement with NASA (somebody pinch me), had a reception at the House of Lords thrown for us, appeared in a reasonably impressive number and range of media pieces (see sidebar), went to SciFoo, and, most gratifyingly of all, fish-slapped Ben Stein.
In 2009 our ambition is no less than raising £5million and launching the build of the new Beagle. If all goes to plan, you'll have images of a nascent keel on this blog before the year is out. Don't forget: you (yes you!) can help us get there by donating to us (on PayPal for now but soon on various charity-more-friendly websites in the UK and abroad) and buying something in our shop:
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