The Challenger Expedition 1872-1876

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the voyage of HMS Challenger which set out from Portsmouth in 1872 with a mission a to explore the ocean depths around the world and search for new life. The scale of the enterprise was breath taking and, for its ambition, it has since been compared to the Apollo missions. The team onboard found thousands of new species, proved there was life on the deepest seabeds and plumbed the Mariana Trench five miles below the surface. Thanks to telegraphy and mailboats, its vast discoveries were shared around the world even while Challenger was at sea, and they are still being studied today, offering insights into the ever-changing oceans that cover so much of the globe and into the health of our planet.

The image above is from the journal of Pelham Aldrich R.N. who served on the Challenger Surveying Expedition from 1872-5.


Erika Jones
Curator of Navigation and Oceanography at Royal Museums Greenwich

Sam Robinson
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute Research Fellow at the University of Southampton


Giles Miller
Principal Curator of Micropalaeontology at the Natural History Museum London

Producer: Simon Tillotson
22 Dec 2022 English United Kingdom Religion & Spirituality

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