Students get hands-on experience operating a Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV in the Gulf of Maine on the eastern seaboard of the USA where they explore the undersea world and develop their environmental awareness.
The project brings students, scientists, teachers and marine professionals together and is run by OceansWide, a non-profit organisation, and is an outreach program that supports the outreach requirements of the National Science Foundation and other granting agencies.
Young people are encouraged to participate in real life scientific research and write reports on their findings.
The activities are run both in class and on board OceansWide’s research ship - from where the Falcon is deployed.
In addition to encouraging understanding through research, Buzz Scott, president of OceansWide, explains that the project aims to support industry and marine science by creating innovative programmes that use ROVs to inspire young people to expand their horizons and teach them about the world’s oceans through first hand shipboard experience.
Buzz Scott says they opted for the Falcon, “After a lot of research into the best robotic system and found the Falcon kept coming out top for the smaller research projects.”
He says the Falcon allows them to dive deeper than any other small ROV and manoeuvres more efficiently, and has an overall better quality of video capture underwater. “The controlled power of its five thrusters is so much better for precise manoeuvrability and holding steady in currents whilst filming, and the fibre system means we get HD quality video coming up the tether to the support vessel.”
He concludes by extolling the value of undersea exploration for young people: “We like to get the kids involved no matter what their interests, because once you get them out on the water to see what’s down there – it’s in a way like sailing with Jacques Cousteau or Bob Ballard - you get the bug.”
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