Thursday, August 14, 2008

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

Yesterday I had the great privilege of photographing the commissioning of an incredible NOAA ship called the Okeanos Explorer. This will be the first federal ship dedicated to systematically exploring the unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowlege.

In other words, the US Government knows what it doesn't know about the ocean which is a lot. The intent is to increase our knowlege which I think is pretty great. No set plan other than to go out and explore.

With high definition cameras on remotely operated vehicles that can reach depths of up to 6000 meters (20,000 feet or so) scientists, exploration teams, media, students in classrooms and the general public will be able to watch live feeds potentially while discovering previously undiscovered forms of life or known life forms in undiscovered territories beginning in 2009.

I was told by one of the NOAA Corps Officers that some navigational charts in use today were created by Captain Cook so the world is due for an upgrade. With the technology on board this ship they will be able to create 3D charts and create tools that will be used for generations to come.

I for one am very excited about the potential of this operation and look forward to learning what they discover!

Here are a few images from the commissioning ceremony...

Commander Pica escorting Dr. Marcia McNutt to carry the flag to the Officer of the Deck.
Saluting the American Flag.

Commander Joseph A. Pica, NOAA giving a speech.

I don't want to make a mistake with the names here so I will only mention that 2nd from the right is Dr. Robert Ballard. He is the founder and President of the Institute For Exploration and is widely known as the man that found the Titanic.
The satellite system onboard will enable the Okeanos Explorer to broadcast live feeds in high definition all over the world no matter where they are on the planet!
A tour being given inside the command center.


Randy said...

That's a crazy story about the charts. In this day and age of the common man utilizing a GPS satellite device in a cell phone, it's unbelievable to think that navigation charts in use today date back that far.

Your images are great, but honestly, could they have thrown a more difficult lighting situation at you? Talk about extremes! The full sun blasting off the tent outside as you're trying to expose for the shade and your subjects are wearing super bright white uniforms. Then having to deal with the exact opposite extreme, near pitch black with no lighting. My hats off to you buddy. Well done!

Sophia said...

How many times have my husband and I discussed the absurdity that we spend millions exploring space yet have little idea what lives in our oceans. This is a very positive step in my opinion. Well done with the photography, you were presented with very challenging lighting conditions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Photos. My son is an officer on this ship. I was unable to attend the commissioning so this is great to see part of the event