Envisat meets Phileas Fogg: two world travellers brought together by CD-ROM
In 1873, French author Jules Verne astounded readers with his tale of adventurer Phileas Fogg pushing the then limits of the possible by travelling Around the World in 80 Days. Today European environmental satellite Envisat routinely makes the same trip every 100 minutes.
Fogg and his faithful servant Jean Passepartout make their journey in Verne's novel in response to a challenge – Fogg bets he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less.
Since its launch in 2002, Envisat has also met a challenge – one of effectively providing environmental monitoring and continuous observations of the Earth with multiple instruments, in order to learn about our planet's land, seas, ice and atmosphere in unprecedented detail.
A new ESA multimedia CD-ROM, 'Around the World in 80 Images', brings together these two journeys separated by 13 decades of time.
Designed for the general public, the CD-ROM interweaves the route and descriptions of Fogg's journey with some of the spectacular satellite images provided by Envisat.
Having accepted the bet in a London club, Fogg and Passepartout speedily cross mainland Europe to sail to Suez, and then via Aden to Bombay (Mumbai). They traverse the Indian subcontinent by train and elephant, then sail on to Singapore and China.
Within sight of Singapore they switch steamer to Japan, departing from Yokohama to San Francisco, where the 'uninterrupted metal ribbon' of the transcontinental railroad allows them swift passage to New York. From there, they hurry across the Atlantic to Ireland and back to London.
As well as tracing this fictional odyssey, the CD-ROM also lets users choose their own routes across the globe to see places Fogg never made it to, including the Canadian Arctic, the coast of West Africa and the Amazonian rainforest, as seen from orbit by the ESA satellite. Alternatively images can be viewed by country, together with detailed information on the full range of Envisat's unique observation capabilities.
The Around the World in 80 Images CD-ROM is optimised for Windows XP on PC and Mac System OS X. It can be ordered for free from the Envisat page of ESA's Earth Observation Library. ESA aims to respond to all requests as soon as possible, but due to the wide interest shown in this item, we advise that individual shipments will be delayed.