Program Update: Ocean Observatories Initiative – April 2012
The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Team took a number of opportunities in April to spread the good news on program progress and introduce the revolutionary capabilities in ocean observation the OOI will offer to a variety of new audiences.
Thousands of young aspiring scientists, oceanographers, their families and teachers got a hands-on lesson on how to measure ocean properties at the OOI Exhibit during the 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. on April 28-29. Members of the OOI Team led visitors, ranging in all ages, through a hands-on data collection and measurement experiment to get a glimpse of what information and data will be available with the OOI. Many of the visitors were excited about the program and were amazed by what a step forward it represents in our ability to study and understand the ocean. Click here for more information and photos of the OOI at the USA Science & Engineering Festival.
Earlier in April, members of the OOI Team conducted an outreach event at a local elementary school near Washington, D.C., allowing students to dive to the deepest depths of the ocean, explore the continental shelves and learn about data collection. Though just learning the basics of ocean science in their classroom today, these young students could be the users of OOI data that will be available for a 25-30 year-plus time period. The idea of learning about the deepest depths of the ocean and using robotic instruments to collect scientific data on the ocean seemed to fascinate the young ocean enthusiasts who had more than enough questions of their own.
The University of Washington (UW) OOI team also took part in several outreach events in April. The UW College of the Environment, of which the OOI regional cabled observatory component is a part, hosted open-house displays on Saturday, April 25, as part of the campus-wide Husky Fest. The OOI exhibit pulled in people with the lure of video footage from “a volcano at the bottom of the ocean” and featured high-definition underwater video captured in August 2011 during the VISIONS ‘11 expedition to the Axial Seamount, an OOI study site.
In addition, Scripps Institution of Oceanography members of the OOI team conducted demonstrations of the OOI XBOX game at a number of local schools and outreach events this month. Earlier this year, the game made the finals of the Top 10 in interactive video games for the 2011 National Science Foundation (NSF) International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge. A group at Scripps and the Birch Aquarium have been the developing the Deep-sea Extreme Environment Pilot (D.E.E.P.) game on the Microsoft Xbox360 platform. Development of the game was funded by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as part of their institutional contribution to the OOI program. The UCSD is responsible for the Cyberinfrastructure (CI) segment of OOI.
These outreach events are just a few of the many taking place across the OOI program as program scientists and engineers reach out to educators and students in various communities. To learn more about the OOI and for event coverage, please continue to visit the OOI Website, the OOI Facebook page and OOI Twitter account.