Sunday, 26 October 2014

A Ship of Discovery

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Okeanos Explorer, ‘America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration’ is the only federally funded US ship dedicated to explore our ocean. Why? Because the ocean is 95% unexplored, unseen and unknown, and yet humans rely heavily on its natural resources. To understand, manage and protect the ocean and its resources NOAA believes it is important to explore, understand, discover, inform and educate. Our little Morgan thinks so too. This ship of discovery is packed with a huge variety of sensors and systems, from multi-beam sonar for high resolution mapping of the seafloor down to 6,000 m to plankton sampling kit and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) that can collect samples. This telepresence-enabled ship not only sends live images and data to scientists onshore, but also streams seafloor images and interviews from sea into classrooms, newsrooms and living rooms. 

This week our little Morgan joined Patricia Sullivan and Paul DiGangi from WCA partner Cetacean Society International, at a workshop at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography provided by NOAA on this wonderful exploration vessel. 

Morgan at the University of Rhode Island

Over the course of the workshop Morgan learned about Exploration vs. Research, the ships telespresence, multi beam mapping, water column investigations, underwater robots, wet maps, Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) sensors and image analysis. Morgan participated in experiences such as water quality testing, creating a robot with hydraulics, understanding fractals (a never-ending pattern; infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales) and the notion of the increase in complexity the deeper we study the ocean. 

Testing water quality

The visit culminated in a tour of the command centre for Okeanos where Morgan saw archived video footage of live exploration of the sea floor from around the globe! 

Workshop over there was time to enjoy a little of the beach, soaking up the New England autumn sunshine before heading on to Connecticut with Patti, ready for her next adventure....

Loving the New England coastline

In the meanwhile why not check out NOAA's website for the Okeanos Explorer and Cetacean Society International. Why not check out more photos from Morgan's adventure on her Facebook page.

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