It is indeed an honour to be on board the Royal Research Ship Discovery.
Few ships, if any, hold a name that has a long rich history in Earth science exploration. The history of the RRS Discovery stretches over 2 centuries. In total, 4 ships, including the current one, served the scientific community under this royal name.
While walking through the corridors on board this ship you come across various photos and memorabilia from the previous ships and the numerous expeditions she had been an integral part of. In these pictures, you can see how the ships have changed over time. The first ship was a wooden whaling ship that served as HMS Discovery in the Royal Navy in 1874 for the British Arctic expedition to the North Pole. The first ship to bear the RRS title was the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in Britain, designed for Antarctic research and launched in 1901. It’s first mission was the British National Antarctic Expedition, famously captained by Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, which set sail on 6 August 1901 from the Isle of Wight and sighted the Antarctic coastline on 8 January 1902.
The current ship is the 4th Discovery to bear the RRS title and is one of the world’s most recent and technically advanced scientific research ship, commissioned by HRH The Princess Royal in 2013 in Southampton. There are more Royal Research Ships at present, however, only one holds the legacy of numerous discoveries – the RRS Discovery!
An interesting fact – NASA named one of its space shuttles, Discovery, to honour the legacy of this great ship!