June 17, 2013

By Megan Cook

Flexibility is very key in scheduling science and exploration missions.  Due to some last minute technical work happening aboard the E/V Nautilus on the Gulf coast, my first week as an Ocean Exploration Trust science communication fellow has been on a different coast: New England.  The ship’s scheduled exploration will begin soon, but in the meantime it was great to be behind the scenes getting to know what makes live streaming ocean exploration possible.

The critical hub for streaming exploration live over the internet is the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.  This facility receives satellite transmissions from research and exploration ships all around the world.  In addition to managing enormous data volume and troubleshooting streams, the ISC team produces daily broadcasts to showcase exploration for the world. 

In a long journey from the seafloor, high definition video travels up a fiber optic tether to the ship, beams to a satellite, feeds down here in Rhode Island and patches out to the internet with only a three second delay.  Scientists and students can join the mission in real time from all around the world thanks to this telepresence technology.  Everyday explorers can dive into the deep either streaming on the ExplorationNow webpage or from a live show audience at partner aquaria and museums around the world. 

RI Broadcast Studio

Photo (c) Megan Cook

My week has kept busy chatting live with school groups and visitors at Mystic Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Texas State Aquarium.  Later this season feeds will also be featured at the San Francisco Exploratorium and Titanic Belfast in Ireland.  I have loved hearing young future-explorers get hyped up about a summer of revealing mysteries in the deep sea. If your summer travel takes you near one of these partner venues, please visit them to join me in a live show.

Great questions have already been pouring in:

What are you going to be doing out there?

  1. The E/V Nautilus is sailing for nearly five months of deep-sea exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.   We’ll be looking at the biology, geology, chemistry of the deep along with multibeam mapping the seafloor, investigating underwater volcanoes and a shipwreck found by NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer.  The season brings together scientists, engineers and educators from around the world while also inspiring new explorers both on shore and on the ship through high school and college internships

How deep can the ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) go?
                  A.  Hercules is rated for 4000m; that’s over 13,000 feet or 9 Empire State buildings!

Do you expect to find the Lochness Monster?

                  A. No. Everyone knows Nessie is a freshwater lake creature.  She would not do well in the ocean.

 Learn more about what it takes to produce a live exploration show in this exploration now news story.



  • Stella says:

    Great post, Megan!

  • Cindy Duguay says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog and see how you have used the attribute of “flexibility” in a very positive way! You’ve shared some great information in your blog and I wish you all the best as your adventure continues to unfold!

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