NOAA Research Cruise Days 1 & 2

I’m currently onboard the Okeanos Explorer, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship that is exploring the ocean floor with a robotic submersible. In particular, a team of scientists is investigating the geology and marine life near the continental shelf off the coast of the Northeastern US.  The ship is set up for telepresence, in order to transmit lots of data via satellite so researchers on shore can participate in the exploration. This also makes it possible for the public to follow along as well, because several live video streams from the ship and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) are available on the web. So you can watch the live streams here (you may see me at work), and you can follow the location of the ship here.  The ship website has lots of other information about the ship, its mission, the submersibles, and the crew. And you can follow the NOAA OER blog, ship updates, media from the deep, and mission logs to find out most anything you want to know about the current expedition. We have 15 more dive days and then a day returning to port in Rhode Island, before I travel back to Honolulu.

I’m working with the ROV team, and at this point I’m mostly observing and learning the ropes.  But as the cruise goes on, I will be participating more and more in the preparation and operation of the submersibles, and I hope to learn much more about the hardware involved in the both the mechanical and computational aspects of the ROV.

We departed New York yesterday a little after noon, and headed out to our dive area south of New England.  It was very interesting to see lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Governor’s Island, and the Statue of Liberty from a new perspective. We were mostly in sight of land until nightfall, but when I woke up this morning, we were surrounded by the sea, which was a first for me.  However, I’ve acclimated quickly to the environment on the ship, and it’s a very exciting, new experience.  No seasickness yet, although the sea has been relatively calm so far. Many more updates to come as I get more involved with the ROV operations.

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