Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

32-mile cable installed for first deep-sea observatory

10.04.2007
Step toward making Monterey Bay seafloor accessible to scientists 24 hours a day

Oceanographers have completed an important step in constructing the first deep-sea observatory off the continental United States.

Workers in the multi-institution effort laid 32 miles (52 kilometers) of cable along the Monterey Bay sea floor that will provide electrical power to scientific instruments, video cameras, and robots 3,000 feet (900 meters) below the ocean surface. The link will also carry data from the instruments back to shore, for use by scientists and engineers from around the world.

The Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) observatory, due to be completed later this year, will provide ocean scientists with 24-hour-a-day access to instruments and experiments in the deep sea. The project is managed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Currently, almost all oceanographic instruments in the deep sea rely on batteries for power and store their data on hard disks or memory chips until they are brought back to the surface. With a continuous and uninterrupted power supply, instruments attached to the MARS observatory could remain on the sea floor for months or years.

"MARS represents the first step in a long-planned process to transform the way the oceans are studied," said Julie Morris, director of NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences. "Marine scientists will no longer be required to go out to the ocean for their studies. The ocean is about to come into their offices."

If something goes wrong with the instruments, scientists will know immediately, and will be able to recover or reprogram them as necessary.

Slightly thicker than a garden hose, the MARS cable is buried about 3 feet below the sea floor along most of its route, so it will not be disturbed by boat anchors or fishing gear.

The cable itself contains a copper electrical conductor and strands of optical fiber. The copper conductor will transmit up to 10 kilowatts of power from a shore station at Moss Landing, Calif., to instruments on the sea floor. The optical fiber will carry up to 2 gigabits per second of data from these instruments back to researchers on shore, allowing scientists to monitor and control instruments 24 hours a day, and to have an unprecedented view of how environmental conditions in the deep sea change over time.

"After 5 years of hard work, we are thrilled to bring the age of the Internet to the deep ocean, so we can understand, appreciate and protect the two-thirds of our planet that lies under the sea," said MBARI director Marcia McNutt. "We are grateful for the help of our talented partners and visionary sponsors. MARS has truly been a team effort."

At the seaward end of the MARS cable is a large steel frame about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall and 15 feet (4.6 meters) on each side. This "trawl-resistant frame" will protect the electronic "guts" of the MARS observatory, which will serve as a computer network hub and electrical substation in the deep sea. The researchers hope to install these electronic components into the trawl-resistant frame in the fall of 2007.

After the electronics package is installed and tested, scientists from around the world will be able to attach their instruments to the observatory using underwater extension cords. These instruments will be carried down from the surface and plugged into the science node using MBARI's remotely operated vehicles.

MARS also will serve as a testing ground for technology that will be used on more ambitious deep-sea observatories. As planned, such observatories will use thousands of kilometers of undersea cables to hook up dozens of seismographs and oceanographic monitoring stations. They will provide scientists with new views of sea floor life, and a new understanding of the global tectonic processes that spawn earthquakes and tsunamis.

"MARS is the harbinger of an international ocean observatory network that will enable scientists to study ocean features and changing conditions," said Morris. "New ocean observing capabilities will provide knowledge about the ocean, and information to better manage and preserve ocean resources."

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Scientific ocean drilling expedition explores continental rift development in Greece
24.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

nachricht Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West
23.10.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Single nanoparticle mapping paves the way for better nanotechnology

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A quantum spin liquid

24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Antibiotic resistance: a strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli is on the rise

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>