DTM's Expedition Reaches New Heights

Carnegie Flag
The flag flying in the International Space Station in November of 2016. Photo by Robert S. Kimbrough/NASA ISS.
Monday, November 28, 2016 


Through the generosity of Mr. David Thompson, president and CEO of Orbital ATK, Inc., the Carnegie expedition flag is currently flying in the International Space Station

A watercolor sketch of the Carnegie and house flag from its 1911 visit to South Africa. Image courtesy of DTM Archives.

The flag is a replica of the ones that accompanied DTM’s expeditions to study Earth and space, on both land and sea. It was registered with the U.S. Bureau of Navigation as the Carnegie Institution's “house flag” in 1909, and has been carried on many DTM-led field expeditions, including on the research vessel Carnegie, christened in 1909.  

The Carnegie expedition flag flying over DTM’s solar eclipse station in Cape Palmas, Liberia in May of 1919. Photo courtesy of DTM Archives.

The Carnegie sailed the world’s seas in seven voyages to measure variations in Earth’s magnetic field on a global scale, including circumnavigating Antarctica in a single season in 1915-1916.  Now, a century later, the Carnegie expedition flag is circling the Earth every 90 minutes aboard the International Space Station (ISS).  

The flag on top of the foremast of the brigantine Carnegie in 1928. Photo courtesy of DTM Archives.

Mr. Thompson, whose generous donations have helped support DTM astrometric search of extra-solar planets, had the expedition flag included in the most recent ISS resupply mission that rode aboard Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft,  launched from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on October 17 of this year.  The astronauts on board the ISS were kind enough to photograph the flag on an ISS window, with the Earth in the background for scale.  

The flag flying in the International Space Station in November of 2016. Photo by Robert S. Kimbrough/NASA ISS.

The photographs provide a symbolic representation of the current scope of DTM’s research efforts that range from detailed studies of Earth’s interior to the detection of exo-planets and the study of the processes that form planets in our, and in other, solar systems.

Written by Rick Carlson, November 28, 2016

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