From October 30 through November 20, 2018, NOAA and partners will conduct a telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expedition on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect critical baseline information about unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas surrounding Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Building on a previous work in the region, the upcoming expedition will include remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and mapping operations to address science and management priorities put forward by NOAA, resource managers, and scientists from the region. ROV operations will use NOAA's dual-body ROV system to explore a wide diversity of habitats, including deep-sea coral and fish habitats, midwater habitats, submarine canyons, seamounts, trenches, unique geological features, and other poorly known deepwater habitats. Mapping operations will use NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer’s state-of-the-art sonar systems and concentrate on seafloor and water column areas with little or no high-quality sonar data. Additionally, the expedition will use the ship’s high-bandwidth satellite connection to engage a broad spectrum of scientists, resource managers, and the public in telepresence-based exploration.
Anyone with an Internet connection can follow along with the expedition as high-definition video of ROV dives will be streamed live to shore from October 31 through November 19, 2018. The same telepresence technology that will allow scientists to participate in this expedition from shore will also enable interested members of the public to experience deep-sea exploration, the wonder of discovery, and the fascination of science in real time. Additionally, mission logs, daily updates, educational materials, and highlight videos will be added to the Ocean Explorer website and social media throughout the expedition. For more information, follow the links below.