Swarms of tiny robots to monitor the oceans
Scientists want to learn much more aobut the ocean than they currently know. So they're developing tiny robots to go underwater and observe.
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In September, after more than a decade of planning, OOI received funding for construction from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and from NSF. (You can see the location of observatories here.)Skip to next paragraph
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And efforts to monitor the ocean don't stop there.
OOI will integrate into a larger, multiagency, public-private effort called the Integrated Ocean Observing System, or IOOS.
And IOOS itself will plug into the greater Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), in which 80 governments are participating.
Here and there, pieces of this earth-wide ocean monitoring system are already in place. One section, formerly known as NEPTUNE and now rechristened Regional Scale Nodes (RSN), has various "nodes" up and running. Underwater stations connected to dry land by fiber optic cables currently monitor conditions on the Juan de Fuca plate off the Pacific Northwest, which straddles US and Canadian waters.
The Monterey Ocean Observing System (MOOS) and Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS), meanwhile, already observe life at a depth of 2,923 feet in the Monterey Bay. (They served as testing grounds for methods, technologies and materials used in the larger NEPTUNE project.)
Incrementally and in fits and starts, humanity, it seems, is extending sensors into the vast unknown of the world's marine environment. And in so doing, we're wiring the world's oceans.
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