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Spacelab of 1834

On June 10, 1834, naturalist Charles Darwin passed through the “East and West Furies”, the Tower Rocks, to reach the open waters of the Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Beagle. HMS Beagle was, to its time, as modern and science-packed as any space station. Its multi-year ocean voyage included charting, testing new scientific instruments (different versions of barometers, chronometers, and other modern devices) as well as prevailing and competing theories that Darwin would test in his role of naturalist, collector, and preserver of specimens.

300 years before, Magellan had entered into and named the “peaceful sea” after having fought through straits at the southern tip of South America. The passage, now called the Straits of Magellan, contained nonstop sailing hazards from mountains, glaciers, rapidly running seas, hidden rocks, harsh and unpredictable weather.

Having cleared the Straits of Magellan, HMS Beagle headed north into the Pacific, taking Darwin on his way to momentous discoveries on the Galapagos Islands.

HMS Beagle diagrams from Charles Darwin’s A Naturalist’s Voyage Round The World.
HMS Beagle diagrams from Charles Darwin’s A Naturalist’s Voyage Round The World.

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