The deep-submergence community has an opportunity on March 6 to participate in a unique teleconferencing demonstration of a state-of-the-art, remotely operated underwater research vehicle known as the Jason-Medea System. Jason-Medea has been developed over the past decade by scientists, engineers, and technicians at the Deep Submergence Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The U.S. Navy, the Office of the Chief of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation are sponsoring the workshop to explore the roles that modern computational, communications, and robotics technologies can play in deep-sea oceanographic research.
Through the cooperation of Electronic Data Systems, Inc., the Jason Foundation, and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 2-1/2 hours of air time will be available from 3:00 to 5:30 PM EST on March 6. Twenty-seven satellite downlink sites will link one operating research vessel and the land-based operation with workshop participants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Bermuda. The research ship Laney Chouest will be in the midst of a 3-week educational/research program in the Sea of Cortez, between Baja California and mainland Mexico. This effort is focused on active hydrothermal vents driven by heat flow from the volcanically active East Pacific Rise, which underlies the sediment-covered Guaymas Basin. The project combines into a single-operation, newly-developed robotic systems, state-of-the-art mapping and sampling tools, fiber-optic data transmission from the seafloor, instantaneous satellite communication from ship to shore, and a sophisticated array of computational and telecommunications networks. During the workshop, land-based scientists will observe and participate directly with their seagoing colleagues as they conduct seafloor research.