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P.PORTO teachers on board the Sagres school ship

ISEP

Trip of 371 days that reedits and celebrates the 500 years of the circumnavigation of Magalhães, it counts with ISEP teachers, Porto School of Engineering


The Sagres school ship (NRP Sagres), the most awarded of the Portuguese Navy, left Santa Apolónia, Lisbon, last January for a 371-day voyage in which it proposes to reissue the circumnavigatory journey of Fernão de Magalhães in the celebrations of its 500 years. The return is only scheduled for January 2021.

Teachers and researches of the Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP), school of Engineering of Porto and the Systems and Computer Engineering Institute of Porto, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) integrate the team of 20 scientists aboard. The primary aim is to measure the atmospheric electric field of the planet and collect information that it is not updated for more than 100 years. Having been acquired only by the Carnegie ship, between 1909 and 1920. In addition to two electric field sensors placed on the mast, the NRP Sagres has a visibility sensor, ion counter, microcintillator (cosmic ray sensor), gamma rays and GNSS.

The researchers also developed the towfish, a torpedo, towed by the ship and which is instrumented with different sensors that allow to record sounds of high frequency, conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD), chlorophyll, turbidity, spectrometer and oxygen dissolved in the water. At the end of the trip, it is anticipated that a volume of information of 20 TB will have been collected, which will have to be processed by the team in what could be extended for several years.

The INESC TEC helped to transform the NRP Sagres in a kind of floating laboratory with the capacity to study the atmospheric electricity, the health of the oceans and the effects of climate change, which is part of the Space-Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions in the marine boundary layer (SAIL).

This project, led by INESC TEC, brings together a multidisciplinary team, consisting of specialists in robotics, oceanographic engineering, geophysical monitoring, information management, photonics and marine biology of which the Portuguese Navy, the AIR Center - Atlantic International Research Center, the Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), the University of Minho, the University of Reading (United Kingdom), the Federal University of Paraná and INESC P&D Brasil are part of.

In a statement, the commander of the NRP Sagres since August 2017, Maurício Camilo, points out that these scientific experiments "intend to pay a deserved tribute to the first circumnavigation, which was only possible thanks to scientific knowledge, especially astronomy and nautical".

Therefore, and over the next year, the ship will dock at 22 ports in 19 different countries and is expected to visit 12 cities in the
Rede Mundial de Cidades Magalhânicas (World Magalhânicas Cities Network-RMCM). One of the highlights will be the stopover in Tokyo during the Olympic Games in Japan, in the summer, like what had already happened in Rio de Janeiro four years before.

The school ship is now 82 years old at the service of the Portuguese Navy (the oldest branch of the Armed Forces in the world, according to the papal bull) and will now make the longest journey in duration and distance and also the longest taken: 32 days navigating, without stopping, between Tahiti, in French Polynesia, and Punta Arenas, in the extreme south of Chile, where the NRP Sagres will participate in the celebrations of the discovery of the Strait of Magalhães with the Spanish school ship Juan Sebastian Elcano, which bears the name of the commander who ended the original circumnavigation, after Magalhães’ death.

Fernão de Magalhães captained five caravels and 240 men on the original expedition that left Seville at the end of 1519. In April 1521, in the Philippines, the Portuguese commander in the service of the Spanish crown would die in clashes with natives. The trip would end, already under Elcano's command, in September 1522, with only one caravel and 18 men.

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CCIC | P.PORTO

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