Technicians aboard research vessel Sally Ride lower the Jason remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) into the ocean off the coast of Del Mar earlier this week.
It's a first for America's newest research vessel in two ways.
"We are testing the ship’s capabilities to support the Jason ROV system and testing ship-to-shore telepresence technologies and protocols to enable shore-based participation during the ROV dives," writes the cruise's chief scientist, Bruce Appelgate, who is also Scripps Oceanography's associate director for Ship Operations and Marine Technical Support.
That means that oceanography buffs have been able to watch this week's activities stream live thanks to the Sally Ride Live page on Inner Space Center's website.
Thursday's planned activities, he wrote, included "a series of dives, led by biological oceanographer Lisa Levin and her group, to test the ship’s ability to support Jason dive operations for marine biological investigations of the seafloor and midwater around the Del Mar Methane Seep. The science objectives are to evaluate habitat zonation of pelagic animals and their interactions with benthos, recover colonization experiments on wood and carbonate rocks, collect sediment cores for faunal and eDNA analysis, collect rock samples to study faunal assemblages, conduct video transects for megafauna population investigations, and collect water samples with Niskin bottles for particulate organic carbon (POC) collection."
Jason is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system designed and built by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions's Deep Submergence Laboratory and funded by the National Science Foundation to allow scientists to have access to the seafloor without leaving the deck of a ship.
"The Jason system has been used aboard Scripps-operated vessels many times in the past (aboard Roger Revelle and Melville), so the Scripps mariners and JASON engineers are accustomed to working together," Appelgate wrote. "However, the system has never before been deployed from Sally Ride."