Event Detail


The Azores: Volcanic Paradise Islands of the Atlantic Training for the Moon in a Lava Cave

Paul Niel
Wednesday, 22 May 2024
Complimentary Drinks from 6:30 pm; Talk at 7:30 pm
Blue Ocean Hall, Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Central Pier No. 8
Complimentary Free-Flow Wines

Austrian Explorer, Paul Niel, introduces the Azores, a stunning but little-known volcanic archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic. These amazing islands, which are an autonomous region of Portugal, are warm year-round, straddling the Gulf Stream. They are famous for their dramatic volcanic landscapes, with lake-filled calderas and stunning green pastures running to ocean cliffs.

It’s almost 52 years since the last astronaut has walked on the moon. But humans are soon to return to the moon - a NASA mission and flight around the moon is scheduled for 2025 with a landing currently aimed for 2027. The moon is a crucial stepping point for further explorations of Mars and deeper into the solar system. All around the world, research teams are contributing to test procedures and equipment for these missions.

Paul tells of his recent participation in Expedition CAMoes - the first lunar analogue mission in Portugal and the remote Azores islands. Utilising the environment of the unique lava tubes, a team of seven analogue astronauts simulated a lunar habitat to undertake a range of scientific experiments and text whether these cave systems can be used for future ESA and NASA astronaut training.

Paul Niel is from Austria and graduated from the University of Vienna. Following nearly 10 years in Hong Kong, he is now a Portugal-based mountaineer, adventurer and explorer. He has travelled the globe for expeditions and other adventures that have taken him to places as disparate as Kamchatka, Papua, the Arctic Circle and across the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing yacht. Over the last 10 years, he has successfully climbed the highest mountains on every continent, the celebrated “Seven Summits”, and became one of a handful of climbers to climb two 8,000m peaks on the same day, Mt Everest and Mt Lhotse.

Paul has led and undertaken more than 20 expeditions across all seven continents and travelled to 110 countries. He drove a tuk-tuk more than 3,000km through India to raise awareness for girls’ education. Together with his wife, he completed the first coastal circumclimb of Hong Kong Island, mapping the coastal pollution areas of Hong Kong. He has produced three award-winning films that have screened at outdoor festivals around the world. He is a Fellow of the RGS and the Explorers Club and founder of the Portugal Chapter of the Explorers Club.

Members of the RGS-HK, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$200 for RGS Members and HK$250 for guests and others, including free-flow drinks.

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