The new Royal Research Ship Discovery due to be officially named today by the Princess Royal is the latest in a line of vessels bearing the name that date back to 1602 when the East India Company commissioned the first recorded Discovery to explore the waters now known as the Hudson Strait.
In the 20th Century a new Discovery was specially commissioned for the British National Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04, that included Antarctic heroes Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton.
Once named by Her Royal Highness at Empress Dock in Southampton, new Royal Research Ship Discovery joins RSS James Cook as one of a brace of vessels with deep ocean capability that will be used as research base for decades to come. Her Royal Highness also named James Cook in 2007.
RSS Discovery is almost 100m in length, she will carry a marine crew of 24 and has accommodation for 28 scientists and technicians. The ship is fitted with a suite of laboratories, handling systems and sensors that will enable her to carry out research spanning a wide range of ocean issues.
RSS Discovery will play a key role in the scientific mission to understand the role of the oceans in the Earth system and to carry out research in areas including climate change, ocean acidification, the impact of human activity on delicate ecosystems, mapping earthquakes and underwater landslides.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will name a new Royal Research Ship - RRS Discovery - at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton today. She is a state-of-the craft for world-leading oceanographic research.
She was commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and will be operated on NERC's behalf by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) for the United Kingdom's marine science community.
Discovery's capability will allow deep-ocean research in the remotest and least hospitable parts of our planet, from tropical seas to polar waters.