A trivia question – what was the Space Shuttle Atlantis named after?
A. The Greek legend of the sunken continent.
B. The TV show – Stargate Atlantis.
C. Woods Hole’s first research vessel.
I will admit that I surprised to learn that it was C. The Space Shuttle Atlantis was named after the venerable RV Atlantis, the first research vessel operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was built in 1930 at Burmeister & Wain a 142-foot, a steel-hulled, ketch-rigged ship that sailed 299 cruises and more than 700,000 miles for ocean science from 1931 to 1966. In addition to the space shuttle, two other Woods Hole research vessels have borne the name Atlantis.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis delivered in 1985, completed its final flight only last week and will now be retired. And the RV Atlantis? She is still going strong. She currently serves the Prefectura Naval Argentina as the research vessel Dr. Bernardo A. Houssay. Last week she completed a major refit and has been put back into service. She is the oldest serving oceanographic scientific vessel with over 1,300,000 miles of service, all at sea level. The space shuttle is retiring but the RV Atlantis, now the Dr. Bernardo A. Houssay, sails on.