Science on a Sphere (SOS)

Key Inner Space Center Staff who contributed to developing this SOS  video program:

  • Dwight Coleman, Principal Investigator
  • Gail Scowcroft, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Alex DeCiccio, Video Producer
  • Holly Morin, Science Content Lead
  • Tim Burbank, Video Assistant

The Science on a Sphere (SOS) module, “Exploring the Unknown Ocean” was produced by The Inner Space Center in partnership with 42° North Media and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (NOAA OER). Funding was provided by National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

The compelling story behind ocean science technologies, the people that operate them, the scientists who use them, and the amazing discoveries they make together are highlighted in this innovative SOS program.  It features deep-sea encounters, creature discoveries, and interesting habitats; engaging, scientists’ audio commentaries; and imaginative technology visualizations and animations, all linked via inventive, sphere-based storytelling. This program was produced by the ISC in partnership with 42° North Media and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (NOAA OER).

Science On a Sphere® (SOS) is a room sized, global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed Science On a Sphere® as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Animated images of atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperature can be shown on the sphere, which is used to explain what are sometimes complex environmental processes, in a way that is simultaneously intuitive and captivating.

Image Credit: NOAA

Science On a Sphere® extends NOAA’s educational program goals, which are designed to increase public understanding of the environment. Using NOAA’s collective experience and knowledge of the Earth’s land, oceans, and atmosphere, NOAA uses Science On a Sphere® as an instrument to enhance informal educational programs in science centers, universities, and museums across the country. Science On a Sphere® is available to any institution and is currently in operation at a number of facilities in the US.

The global ocean encompasses 75% of our blue planet, yet less than 10% of the waters below its rippling surface have been explored.  It was once thought that the ocean depths were devoid of life, the seafloor, a barren, empty plain. However, advances in ocean science technologies are taking humans to previously unexplored waters, revealing unimaginable subsea landscapes, teaming with life. The compelling story behind these technologies, the people that operate them, the scientists who use them, and the amazing discoveries they make together are highlighted in a new, innovative SOS program developed by the Inner Space Center (ISC) at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (URI/GSO).  It features deep-sea encounters, creature discoveries, and interesting habitats; engaging, scientists’ audio commentaries; and imaginative technology visualizations and animations, all linked via inventive, sphere-based storytelling. This program is intended for use at informal science education institutions with SOS installations and incorporates options for content expansion and audience engagement with science interpreters.

Special thanks Walter Smith, David Sandwell, Allan Adams, Mashkoor Malik, Jesse Varner, Nicole Raineault, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Ocean Exploration Trust, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

International hub for ocean science exploration