Rhode Island Shipwrecks Recap

From September 2nd, to September 6th, several members of our URI GSO Inner Space Center team sailed aboard the R/V Endeavor. We were joined by scientists (from the URI Graduate School of Oceanography), high school teachers, and members of the United States Coast Guard Academy. Everyone onboard came out to sea for our Rhode Island Shipwrecks project.

Our first mission for this project was to use telepresence technology to send live shows from R/V Endeavor to our event partner, Rhode Island PBS, and to the internet. Our second mission was to explore shipwrecks near Rhode Island and work with participating scientists and engineers on board to accomplish their research goals.

Our ISC team broadened our horizons on this project by broadcasting our own shows, directly from the Endeavor.  Live broadcast shows were beamed to Rhode Island PBS, as well as to our website, three times a day. They will soon be available to watch on our YouTube page (http://youtube.com/innerspacecenter).  Special guests from the United States Coast Guard Academy, scientists and engineers from URI and GSO, and Rhode Island high school teachers were featured in every episode.

Each day, multiple dives were attempted on various wrecks around Rhode Island. The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives on the U-853 and a wreck called Montana were our most interesting dives. The ROV team consisted of Dr. Stephen Licht and his graduate students, Jordan Kirby and Matt Perkins, from GSO’s Ocean Engineering department. Baruch College provided the ROV, a Falcon SeaEye by the name of Deep Reef.

The US Coast Guard Academy also brought their own mini ROV, a Seabotix. Captain Sanders and his student, Cadet First Class Gabe Patterson, piloted this ROV. Captain Sanders’s research investigated corrosion and concretion of ocean wrecks. They regularly study the effects of corrosion on potentially polluting wrecks. Their research on these local wreck sites will help them extrapolate corrosion rates for different materials in different undersea conditions. Rich Sanders did a great job making this complicated branch of chemistry understandable by our audience.

Scientists Dr. Tom Rossby and Dr. Godi Fischer participated in this cruise to test out their sonar equipment to further their research project, “Fish & Chips”.  Their goal is to create a sonar system the size of microchip, able to successfully tag and track fish. Dr. Rossby, an expert on sound waves, was a frequent guest on our broadcast, and even demonstrated a delightful sound experiment for our viewers.  One of our teachers loved the idea and even adapted the experiment for her classroom.

Last but not least, two Rhode Island high school teachers also joined the ISC team. Shannon Donovan, a teacher from Scituate High School, joined us on our first day, and stayed the whole duration of the trip. This eager teacher dove right into our broadcasts and even gave her robotics classes some special interactions! A second teacher, Tiffany Risch of Coventry High School, joined us later in the week to help with our broadcasts. Tiffany is currently creating her own oceanography class!

The onboard ISC team consisted of Alex DeCiccio (Director and Producer), Kyle Sidlik (Camera, Social Media, Production), Erin Bilbo (Production Assistant, Technical Director, Social Media), Andrea Gingras (Production Coordinator), Dwight Coleman (Director of ISC and EN566 Chief Scientist) and MarieAlyse Pereira (Host) on board. The onshore ISC support team consisted of Christian Renzi (Production Assistant and Editor) and Derek Sutcliffe (ISC Chief Engineer), who made sure the telepresence and live broadcasts went smoothly.

All and all, we had a successful cruise on the R/V Endeavor, and couldn’t be happier with the results!

Be sure to check out all of the broadcasts and interviews conducted on our YouTube pages at: https://www.youtube.com/user/innerspacecenter – Subscribe for notifications on new content!

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