“All of us are born explorers. If we find ourselves in a room that has a door, the first thing we will do is open the door to see what is on the other side.” Dr. Robert Ballard
Over 95% of our ocean is still unexplored. Nearly all of this falls far below the sun-streaked scuba depths and into the deep sea- the great frontier left on our planet. Come along this summer as Mission Blue Young Explorer Megan Cook joins the Nautilus Exploration Program to take you into depths of our blue planet never seen before.
The Nautilus Exploration Program was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic and a great ocean explorer. The international exploration program centers on scientific exploration of the seafloor launched from aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a 211-foot research vessel equipped with state-of-the-art exploration and telepresence technology. Powerful remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) on board, named Hercules and Argus, will be used to view the seafloor with high definition video, take environmental measurements and collect geological and biological samples. A brand new hull-mounted multibeam system will be building side-scan and subbottom sonar maps to seek out compelling targets for closer investigation.
Tour the command center for the Nautilus Exploration program with Megan:
From June through November of 2013, Exploration Vessel Nautilus will explore the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, mapping the geological, biological, archaeological and chemical aspects of these regions to depths of approximately 2000 meters. During the expedition, the team will be sharing our discoveries live on the web via telepresence technology, putting the unexplored ocean directly in your hands, classroom, or pocket on your smart phone! Join in the thrill of exploring dark corners of the planet via the new interactive portal Nautilus LIVE.
“One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to inspire the next generation of explorers in STEM fields,” said Expedition Leader and OET Vice President, Dr. Katherine Croff Bell, “so we’re very excited to provide educators and students with the direct experience of pure exploration, while allowing them the opportunity to share their experience far and wide with their peers.”
Megan joins the Nautilus as an Educator as Sea sailing for a month into the Gulf of Mexico on two science missions. Beginning Monday the team sails from Galveston, Texas mapping natural hydrocarbon (oil and natural gas) seeps throughout the Gulf of Mexico. In a natural process oil and gas bubble from the seafloor but how much, when and where are still unanswered questions. In mid-June stay tuned in for ECOGIG (Ecosystem Impacts of Oil & Gas Inputs to the Gulf) as the Nautilus Team explores some of the deepest coral reefs in the world growing far beyond the deepest reaching sunlight. Exploration runs 24 hours a day and you can submit questions to interact with the Corps of Exploration around the clock.
I’ve been underwater all around the world and this will be my first chance to explore the Gulf of Mexico- our ocean at the foot of the country. I hope you’ll come with me while we explore the deep sea right in our own backyard. – Megan Cook
To be part of this landmark exploration mission, bookmark the live feed coming in at Nautilus LIVE. You can also follow the Nautilus Exploration Program on Twitter @EVNautilus or Facebook. Mission Blue will have exclusive stories from Megan over all the social media channels so check in here for expedition highlights, photo albums and new discoveries. You never know what may be down there!
As Sylvia says, “onwards and downwards” into the deep sea!