It appears that the Beagle Project crew will have a trial run on the Brazilian ship Tocorime – not a replacement for building the Beagle, but getting the feet wet, seeing what is involved, learning from the experience, before the Real Deal.
Funded by the British Council, they will circumnavigate around South America following that portion of the original Darwin’s trip. From the proposal:
The year 2009 marks the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth. Without a doubt the greatest influence on Darwin and the development of his theory of evolution came during his travels in and around South America, carried by HMS Beagle and supported by HMS Adventure. Darwin experienced the wonders of the tropical rainforest in Brazil, fossils in Argentina, the uplifting of land in Chile and the remarkable variation of fauna on the Galapagos Islands.
This proposal aims to support the recreation of Darwin’s travels around South America, undertaking new science as part of an international effort to understand and develop a system of DNA-based identification of taxa (DNA barcoding). It will correlate this science at sea on the Brazilian tall ship Tocorime (Portuguese for Adventure) with a view of the world that Darwin could only dream of – from the International Space Station.
Funding is sought to bring together scientists from South America and the UK, the Tocorimé operators, the organisers of The HMS Beagle Trust and NASA to plan a scientific expedition from Rio to the Galapagos that will throw new light on evolutionary science in a highly visible and exciting way.