Oceanographer touts deep sea web surfing

Researchers and students can see what Ballard sees through the new Nautilus Live web site.
Students can see what Ballard sees through the new Nautilus Live web site.

Bob Ballard, the explorer best known for the discovery of the Titanic and other wrecks, has not only made deep-sea exploration more accessible for K-12 and college students, but he’ll feed them updates through two of their favorite web sites: Facebook and Twitter.

Ballard visited the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration in Connecticut June 23 to introduce his new Nautilus Live Theater, along with a new web site where people can watch his expeditions live.

“The idea is to have millions of people follow these expeditions,” said Peter Glankoff, the aquarium’s senior vice president of marketing and public affairs.

Visitors to the aquarium will be able to attend four daily presentations in which they will not only learn about Ballard’s latest expedition but will be able to watch it live on a huge high-definition screen as well.

They will also be able to talk to the scientists and engineers aboard the Okeanos Explorer and Nautilus, the two ships Ballard will be using in the Black and Aegean seas and the Pacific Ocean this summer to explore, among other things, ancient wrecks that could contain the mummified remains of 2,000-year-old sailors and a massive underwater volcano where marine life lives in boiling water.

At some point, aquarium visitors will also be able to help pilot remotely operated underwater vehicles the ships use to explore — even though they will be thousands of miles away.

The initiative has an even greater reach: Ballard has launched Nautilus Live, a web site that allows people to not only learn about the expeditions but watch them live and listen to the scientists in the control rooms as the discoveries are made.

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