From November 28 to December 5, 2016, the Inner Space Center (ISC) supported a science verification cruise for the R/V Sally Ride, one of two, new vessels in the U.S. Academic Research Fleet. These short cruises are intended to test the ship, crew, and science systems to make sure that all are in proper working order before the ship departs for its first research expedition. The Sally Ride was named after the late Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, who was part of the space shuttle Challenger crew in 1983.
The ISC team tested the ship’s capabilities to support the Jason remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system as well as ship-to-shore telepresence technologies and protocols that will enable shore-based participation during ROV dives. Director of the ISC, Dr. Dwight Coleman, installed a mobile telepresence unit (MTU) on board. This unit allows for any ship to have telepresence capabilities.
During the cruise, ROV Jason was used for a variety of exploration activities. Geophysicist, Dr. Mark Zumberge, and his group from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, used Jason to attach geophysical sensors to the sea floor. Dr. Lisa Levin, also from Scripps, used the ROV system to continue biological survey of the seafloor around the Del Mar methane seep near San Diego, CA.
Along with ROV operations, the R/V Sally Ride was able to connect to the Birch Aquarium. Amanda Netburn, Bruce Applegate, and Dwight Coleman hosted live broadcasts to the aquarium’s new Sally Ride exhibit.