“The Glomar Challenger departed Orange, Texas, on July 20, 1968, completed acceptance trials on August 11, 1968, and concluded the work of Leg 1 in Hoboken, New Jersey, on September 23, 1968.” This is the first sentence of Volume I of the Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, where co-chief scientists Maurice Ewing and Joe Worzel oversaw eleven holes drilled at seven sites in the Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda Rise (see Figure, below). This initial expedition of NSF’s organized scientific ocean drilling programs set new records for drilling in water depth (5354 m) and seafloor penetration (770 m) and confirmed the existence of deep salt domes in the Gulf of Mexico. The initial award to Scripps Institution of Oceanography for DSDP was for an eighteen-month drilling program in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Leg 1 listed 28 shipboard participants - all American and all men - with the majority being engineering and technical staff.

Fifty years after the first official expedition, organized scientific ocean drilling is still going strong. Twenty-three nations jointly participate in the International Ocean Discovery Program, through which large diverse international multi-disciplinary science parties work on carefully selected hypotheses to make new discoveries about Earth’s past, present, and future. Throughout this anniversary year and as we approach the centennial year of the American Geophysical Union, this website will advertise anniversary events. Watch the webstream of the European Geosciences Union symposium “Fifty Years of International Ocean Drilling” from April 2018. For those attending the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting, don’t miss the Union session U006: Fifty Years of Scientific Ocean Drilling: How the Past Informs the Future and the IODP Town Hall Meeting December 12. Also planned is a special issue of Oceanography, Scientific Ocean Drilling: Looking to the Future.