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U.S. Ship Explores Mysteries Of Gulf Of Mexico



Published on 22 April 2014



by Office of the Spokesperson

(WireNews)

Washington, D.C.

Between now and May 1, a U.S. ship is exploring the mysteries of the Gulf of Mexico, and the world is invited to come along.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is investigating the Gulf’s depths from its ship Okeanos Explorer, according to an April 18 blog post on the Commerce Department website, and viewers around the world can follow the action and discovery — live.

On April 18, the ship launched the Deep Discoverer remotely operated vehicle to dive in Keathley Canyon at site KC3. Keathley Canyon is a narrow, steep-walled canyon south of the Flower Garden Banks on the continental slope. Scientists planned to explore locations in the canyon that transect canyon slopes and along the adjacent floor, looking for brine flows and hardbottom habitats.

Using satellite and high-speed Internet pathways, live seafloor video from cameras on the Deep Discoverer remotely operated vehicle and Seirios camera sled and lighting platform is being streamed to scientists around the world, allowing them to participate virtually. This means the number of scientists who can provide input and conduct “at-sea” research isn’t limited by the space available on the ship.

The same live video feeds are available online 24 hours a day, so that anyone, anywhere, can follow the exploration.

Despite the Gulf of Mexico’s importance to U.S. national energy, food, transportation and recreational economies, and despite decades of exploration, significant gaps remain in the basic understanding of its deep waters, the blog post said. In determining which sites to visit during the Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research received input from more than 40 scientists from across the federal government, a fisheries management council and multiple academic institutions. They identified areas where information gained from exploration is most needed to better manage and protect Gulf resources.

Viewers around the world following along online will be able to watch as NOAA explores cold seeps, deep coral communities, undersea canyons, shipwrecks and more. Information gained through this and other deep-sea expeditions can help fill gaps in knowledge about the 95 percent of the ocean that remains unexplored.

What is learned through ocean exploration and research helps establish the baseline environmental intelligence needed to forecast future environmental conditions, build community resilience and inform the decisions that governments confront every day.

To learn more about the Gulf expedition, you can access daily updates, mission logs, highlight photos and videos, maps and collected data, and educational materials on NOAA’s website. You can also follow the expedition on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to keep up-to-date on the latest dive plans, operations and discoveries.

Watch live to witness active scientific exploration and discovery of America's underwater territory.

 

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Posted 2014-04-22 17:25:00