The HMS Beagle Project and NASA signed a Space Act Agreement for cooperation across three areas, joint science, educational outreach and public affairs, in October 2008. The trans-atmospheric collaboration was initiated when astronaut and spaceflight physician Michael R Barratt read about the HMS Beagle Project in Science magazine.

The agreement means astronauts aboard the International Space Station will work with crew, scientists and students on the new Beagle. Barratt said: “Space stations, square riggers and marine biology: science does not get more exciting than this and we need to get the enquiring young minds of today excited by science. Almost everything we take for granted today, a scientist was involved somewhere in its development and I think the ISS circling the world while a scientific square rigger with Beagle’s pedigree rounds Cape Horn, making new discoveries at sea and on land, streaming footage back to labs and classrooms will be a great way to welcome young minds into the excitement and adventure of science.”