Oceanopolis and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) will be unveiling the Espace et OcÈan exhibition (Space and Oceans) in Brest, on France’s west coast, on 2 February 2001. At the opening, local French schoolchildren will be able to talk live to sailors competing in the VendÈe Globe round-the-world yacht race. This exhibition, which will run until 20 May 2001, gives a foretaste of the special evening that CNES is organizing in Brest to mark the forthcoming launch of the French-US Jason-1 ocean-observing satellite.
Did you know that the oceans are not flat? That as well as waves and swell, the relief of the sea surface is punctuated by hills and valleys? That large currents drive ocean circulation around the globe? That observing the oceans from space is helping us to improve our understanding of climatic events such as El NiÒo? And did you know that we can track the competitors in the VendÈe Globe and respond to distress calls, all thanks to satellites operating in tandem with Argos transmitters and Sarsat emergency beacons? You can discover such interesting facts and gain a fascinating insight into the world’s oceans at the Espace et OcÈan exhibition at Oceanopolis in Brest from 2 February to 20 May 2001, organized in partnership with CNES.
The exhibition consists of four "islands" that take visitors on a voyage of discovery and show them around the seas of the globe from the bridge of a ship, an ocean-observing satellite and a research laboratory. Each island has interactive features, a computer or video terminal and display panels. Visitors can thus see for themselves the vital role satellites play in aiding navigation, how they are expanding our knowledge of the oceans, and how important all this knowledge is for managing our planet’s natural resources and protecting its environment.
The highlight of the exhibition opening on 2 February will come when local children from the La ForÍt Fouesnant primary school taking part in the Argonautica project will get the chance to talk live with Joe Seeten, Catherine Chabaud and Michel Desjoyaux, three skippers competing in the VendÈe Globe. Argonautica is an outreach initiative led by CNES that aims to give teachers and their classes the opportunity to discover what space oceanography is all about through satellite tracking of drifting buoys. Competitors in the VendÈe Globe have released the Argonautica buoys and schoolchildren are now keeping track of them to learn about the movements of ocean currents and surface winds.
The Espace et OcÈan exhibition was first put on by the CitÈ de l’Espace in Toulouse, south-west France, in 1999 before moving to the Palais de la DÈcouverte in Paris. The exhibition was put together by CNES, the Palais de la DÈcouverte, Alcatel Space, the French weather service MÈtÈo France and SHOM, the French Navy’s hydrography and oceanography department. The Toulouse department of the French electric and gas utility EDF-GDF, CLS and LEGOS/GRGS (the French space geophysics and oceanography research laboratory and space geodesy research centre) also contributed.
For further information, contact:
– Julien Guillaume, CNES Press Relations Office
phone +33 (0)1 44 76 76 87 – julien.guillaume@cnes.fr
– Chantal Guillerm and DaniËle Quemeneur, Oceanopolis
phone +33 (0)2 98 34 40 42 – dir.public@oceanopolis.com
Or look on CNES’s websites at www.cnes.fr and www.cnes-tv.fr
BREST/OCEANOPOLIS, Friday 2 February 2001
10:45 a.m. Welcoming of guests at Oceanopolis
11:00 a.m. Guided tour of the exhibition
11:30 a.m. Videoconference link-up with children from La ForÍt Fouesnant school and VendÈe Globe skippers taking part in Argonautica
12:00 a.m. Speeches by exhibition organizers and partners
12:30 a.m. Cocktail reception
2:00 p.m.        Tour of Oceanopolis
Argonautica data processing workshop for guest schoolchildren