Okeanos Explorer, the first federal ship dedicated solely to ocean exploration, was commissioned on Saturday in Seattle, WA.
A former U.S. Navy surveillance vessel, the ship was transferred to NOAA in 2004 and converted to perform ocean exploration. The Okeanos Explorer will use telepresence – satellite and high-speed Internet-based technology – to enable scientists on shore at any of five Exploration Command Centers to participate in and direct real-time exploration while viewing live images and other ocean data. (source: NOAA)
The Okeanos Explorer is in direct support of President Bush’s Ocean Action Plan, developed to promote an ethic of responsible use and stewardship for our oceans and coastal resources. The ship will serve three primary purposes:
- deep water (to 6,000 m) mapping,
- science class ROV operations, and
- real-time broadband satellite transmission of data.
It is said that 95 percent of the world’s ocean is unseen by humans, and what is yet to be uncovered could hold clues to the origins of life on Earth, cures for human diseases, answers to how to achieve sustainable use of our oceans, links to our maritime history, and information to protect the endangered species of the sea. The Okeanos Explorer aims to not only test scientists hypotheses about the ocean, but generate new ones as well.