16 April 2009

Video birthday card to astronaut Mike Barratt

Today Beagle Project collaborator astronaut Mike Barratt is celebrating his 50th birthday aboard the International Space Station. To thank him for all the great work he's done aligning NASA and the Beagle Project we thought we'd record him a birthday message. Mike is a great fan of Captain James Cook and Charles Darwin, so we came to Cook's maritime home of Whitby and the Natural History Museum in London which is a haven of all things Darwin to wish Mike many happy returns:

Birthday in space from Beagle Project on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Richard Johnson said...

Great stuff! Similarly, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston celebrated his 70th Birthday last month and today is the 40th anniversary of his return to Falmouth, after completing the world's first, solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe. This was completed in 'Suhaili', a boat made of teak, which he built himself.

In his 60s, at an age more commonly associated with quiet retirement, he continued to sail competitively and he remains a huge, worldwide inspiration, not just for his continuing sailing success, but also as a determined achiever.

To many, including those of us born after his first circumnavigation, he is both the world's greatest living sailor and a Great British living legend. One blogger is currently campaigning to establish April 22nd as 'Robin Knox-Johnston Day' and I wish them all success.

Certainly Sir Robin's achievement in 1969 established him as Britain's Neil Armstrong, but unlike the Apollo 11 crew, he was without the NASA resources, the back-up team, the modern materials or the modern technology that today's sailors would regard as essential equipment.

And yet, when talking about his immense achievements and adventures, Sir Robin is also a modest master of the 'typical British understatement': “I don’t want to be alarmist, but I have seen an 80-foot wave”. It is difficult to imagine such a phenomenon, but being alone, without a working radio, in the middle of the Poseidon Adventure is probably not too dissimilar.

Additionally, I note Sir Robin is one of your Beagle Project patrons. For all the above reasons, surely he merits a blog entry today, of all days? [I would suggest he merits 24-carat gold one!]