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Telepresence links scientists on shore with science at sea

May 6, 2014 | Telepresence Options

Kelly_Elliott

Story and images by Ryan Holeywell / Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON -- Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are traveling the world in the Okeanos Explorer, the only federally funded U.S. ship tasked with exploring the unknown parts of the ocean for research purposes.

The 224-foot ship is outfitted with a slew of high-tech tools: remotely operated vehicles that can dive to the ocean floor and transmit high-definition video; multibeam sonar that can produce high-resolution maps of the sea floor; and sensors that can gather data from the deep.

Most important is technology called telepresence, which sends all the information back to shore in near-real time. The high-speed connection allows the Okeanos Explorer to collaborate with scientists on land. It also means students and amateur explorers can follow along online at oceanexplorer.noaa.gov.

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