Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Chief Operating Officer
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Chikyu Launching Ceremony
January 18, 2002
Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my honor and distinct pleasure to attend today's
ceremonies. This event officially marks the beginning
of a significant contribution by Japan to our ability
to study the Earth, the Oceans, and the Biosphere.
As an engineer, I have a special appreciation for
the technical challenges that have been met in the
design and construction so far completed. I realize,
of course, that there are many rewarding challenges
still to be faced in completing and outfitting the
As a government science and engineering officer, I
am equally impressed by the success of our colleagues
at the Ministry of Education, Sport, Culture, Science
and Technology (MEXT) in the responsible process of
securing governmental approval and resources for such
a special project. And, to our friends at the Japan
Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC), who
will manage the operation of the vessel, I wish you
much success in your continuing planning and efforts
to provide forefront scientific, technical and drilling
capabilities for the vessel.
As a former naval officer, I offer my fond wishes to
those who will sail in this ship and experience the
beauty and thrills of the sea as they pursue discovery
in the deep.
The name Chikyu (Earth) is very appropriate for the
new vessel. For many years to come, it will be a cornerstone
for global scientific ocean drilling as part of the
new Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). The
IODP will address many of the most fundamental and
societally important problems in Earth and Ocean Science,
ranging from the mechanisms of earthquake generation
and occurrence, to the distribution and composition
of the Earth's deep biosphere.
The Chikyu will provide a new capability in ocean drilling
that allows deep drilling of the earth's crust and
drilling in areas where special precautions and controls
are required. We have not had such a capability previously
- our National Science Foundation looks forward to
the results of your first successful drilling.
MEXT and NSF have worked together in sharing leadership
for the new IODP. The program, however, is envisioned
as a true international partnership of scientists
and funding agencies from many countries. Under the
leadership of Drs. Jim Kinoshita (JAMSTEC) and Ted
Moore (University of Michigan) the international scientific
community has begun the detailed science planning
for the IODP. Plans for the Program include a second
drill ship to be provided by the NSF, and short-term
use of additional drilling platforms to be provided
by our European partners.
In the tradition of scientific ocean drilling, IODP's
success will require international coordination, and
commitment of intellectual and financial resources.
MEXT and NSF both look forward to the formal endorsement
and commitment to participate from many of the international
organizations represented here today. In particular,
we welcome the recent announcement of support for
the IODP from our colleagues at the Natural Environment
Research Council in the United Kingdom.
Although this launching marks a new beginning in ocean
drilling, it also highlights a long and productive
collaboration between the National Science Foundation
and the universities and Government of Japan. The
Ocean Research Institute at the University of Tokyo
is one of our oldest partners in ocean drilling. It
joined the Deep Sea Drilling Project in 1974.
NSF's cooperation with Japan goes back to 1961 - when
we signed NSF's first international agreement in bilateral
science with the Japan Society for the Promotion of
Science (JSPS). At that time, we established an NSF
office in Tokyo to facilitate its implementation.
The NSF-JSPS Cooperative Research Program established
under that agreement continues to this day.
In the intervening years, of course, U.S.-Japan bilateral
science and engineering relations have expanded significantly
so that NSF (and many other U.S. agencies) now enjoy
mutually beneficial relations with a wide range of
government organizations in Japan - and our scientists
and engineers cooperate in virtually every field.
With the operation of the Chikyu, and the beginning
of the IODP, I look forward to a significant expansion
in our cooperation in the Earth and Ocean Sciences.
I wish you smooth sailing and good drilling!!