In December, the iconic cultural expedition cruise pioneer Swan Hellenic teamed up with the SETI Institute to take its cruise explorations further and deeper, including into the far reaches of space. Now it has announced the first SETI experts accompanying its 2023 cultural expedition cruises. The SETI Institute is a space and Earth science research organisation supporting NASA and NSF programmes and partnering with private industry and academia to answer some of humanity’s most profound scientific questions.
Today Wednesday, the 8th of March 2023, Swan Hellenic announced further details of its partnership with the SETI Institute to provide its guests with expert insights into the history and latest discoveries in astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology and planetary science, and the quest to find other forms of life within and beyond our solar system. This quest takes SETI Institute researchers to the planet’s most remote and inhospitable corners to explore life, including Antarctica, where the Swan Hellenic fleet is, of course, present for several months every year.
The new partnership will engage Swan Hellenic’s many adventure travellers with never-before-seen presentations on explorations around Earth and beyond.
Seven Seti scientist are scheduled for Swan Hellenic’s 2023 cultural expeditions cruises.
Dr. David Grinspoon
Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, SETI Institute Science Advisory Board Member
Accompanying: SH Vega, Unspoilt Wilds of Southwest Africa, 3 – 16 April 2023
David is an astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator, prize-winning author and scientist with several interplanetary spacecraft missions, including NASA’s DAVINCI mission to Venus. In 2013, he was appointed as the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress. David’s lecture topics will be “An Astrobiology perspective on Our Place in Planetary History,” “Mission to Venus: The Past, Present and Future Exploration of Earth’s Twin Planet,” and “Searching for Life and Intelligence Beyond Earth”.
Dr. Simon Steel
Deputy Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Research at the SETI Institute
Accompanying: SH Vega, Lands of the Celts, 23 May – 3 June 2023
Simon is a PhD Astronomer and Astrophysicist who specialises in studying galaxies. He has taught at Harvard University and University College London. Simon’s lecture topic will be “From Shí an Bhrú to JWST: Humanity’s Quest for Meaning and Place in the Cosmos.”
President & CEO of the SETI Institute
Accompanying: SH Vega, Arctic Islands & Fjords, 2 June – 6 July 2023
Bill has worked predominantly in applied technologies and has over 20 years of experience in photonics and optical communications, plus more than a decade in X-ray and semiconductor processing technologies. Bill’s lecture topic will be “The Search for Life Beyond Earth – How it Works, Where it Stands, and Why it Matters”.
Dr. Margaret Turnbull
SETI Institute Research Scientist
Accompanying SH Diana, Historic Ports of the Western Seaboard, 8 – 17 August 2023
Maggie is an astrobiologist whose expertise is in identifying planetary systems capable of supporting life as we know it. She developed a Catalogue of Habitable Stellar Systems for the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) and has studied the spectrum of the Earth to identify tell-tale signatures of life. She leads two NASA-funded teams to study the nearest star systems and their prospects for hosting habitable planets. Maggie’s lecture topic will be “Search for life for around nearby stars: Will there ever be another Earth?”
Dr. Pablo Sobron
SETI Institute Research Scientist
Accompanying: SH Vega, Greenland in Depth, 26 August – 5 September 2023
Pablo is a research scientist with a PhD in Physics and Technology Materials who worked at the European Space Agency, the Spanish Space Agency and the Universities of Oslo and Valladolid before dedicating himself to developing new technologies at Washington University, McGill University, the Canadian Space Agency, the SETI Institute and NASA. The technologies include all the laser tools we use to explore Mars today. Since 2016, Pablo has led teams of scientists and engineers in projects to deliver solutions to explore and study the deep sea and deep space. Pablo’s lecture will be “Arctic resources and their role in space sciences and the energy transition”.
Dr. Seth Shostak
Senior Astronomer and Fellow at the SETI Institute
Accompanying: SH Vega, Voyage to the Northwest Passage, 5 – 21 September 2023
With degrees in physics and astronomy from Princeton University and Caltech, Seth has a long history of research in radio astronomy and, since 1991, in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI. He is a frequent guest and commentator on radio and television. Seth’s lecture topic will be “Looking for Aliens”.
Dr. Dava Newman
Director of the MIT Media Lab, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard–MIT Health, Sciences & Technology Faculty Member, SETI Institute Board of Trustees Member
Accompanying: SH Vega, Weddell Sea Discovery, 23 December 2023 – 3 January 2024
Dava served as NASA Deputy Administrator (2015-17) – the first female engineer in this role – and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal. She was also the principal investigator on four spaceflight missions aboard the Space Shuttle, Russian Mir Space Station and International Space Station. She has been to McMurdo base and the South Pole station in Antarctica. Dava’s lecture topics will be “Humanity Becoming Interplanetary: Exploration via Sea and Space”, “Antarctic Extreme Science and Exploration” and “Antarctica from Air, Sea, and Space: Latest Scientific Results”.
Outlining the agreement with Swan Hellenic, SETI President and CEO Bill Diamond explained: “The SETI Institute’s work brings humanity’s relationship with our planet, our solar system and the Universe beyond into focus. Over 100 Institute scientists strive to understand humankind’s place in the cosmos. Outreach and public engagement are also central to our mission, and we are delighted with the opportunity to have our scientists and thought leaders interact with the curious-minded adventurers who explore with Swan Hellenic”.
Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito commented: “We’re immensely proud of this new partnership. The presence of the SETI Institute’s eminent scientists on board our cultural expedition cruises, imparting their expert knowledge of astrobiology, geology, physics, chemistry and astronomy, completes another facet of the quest to take our guests to see what others don’t”.
Text: PM Swan Hellenic