Mission Earth

Mission Earth: An Aquanaut and Astronaut dive into the depths

Antje Boetius and Alexander Gerst with the research submersible off the Canary Islands
[02. August 2020] 

Antje Boetius is currently in the Azores, where she undertaking deep sea dives with astronaut Alexander Gerst for his "Mission Erde" (Mission Earth) series. Alexander Gerst accompanies scientists wanting to gain a better understanding of the fragile Earth system on expeditions – for example in Siberia, the rainforest and in the deep sea. The films documenting the expeditions are produced for SWR by Lars Abromeit and Luise Wagner from Gruppe 5.

The Azores is a group of volcanic islands and forms part of the mid-ocean ridge system. Below the water level, they host a vast array of deep-sea reef communities. Antje Boetius is currently investigating the colonisation of volcanic seamounts in the Arctic ridge system and is delighted to have the opportunity to compare these rarely studied ecosystems. On their outings on and below the surface, Alexander Gerst and Antje Boetius discover the beauty and variety of underwater life, as well as the threat to the oceans posed by litter and future utilisation. They use the research submersible Lula 1000, which is deployed from the Ada Rebikoff. The pilot, Joachim Jakobsen, and his wife, Kirsten, who operate both the submersible and the ship, are well known for their spectacular underwater pictures and discoveries. The expedition in the Azores explores fundamental questions concerning deep-sea life and the state of the oceans, and also presents the aquanaut and astronaut’s perspectives on the future of planet Earth. 

More information about the programme "Mission Erde" is available from SWR. 

Find information about the Rebikoff Foundation here.