Greetings, I am looking forward to “hanging out” with you on Thursday. My name is Dwight Coleman and I am a marine geophysicist at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (URI-GSO). I’ve worked closely with Dr. Robert Ballard, one of the world’s preeminent ocean explorers, for more than 15 years now and my career has been greatly influenced by his vision. One of these visions dates back to 1981, when Dr. Ballard predicted a futuristic way to explore the ocean (Figure 1). This vision involves using tethered robotic vehicle systems that are remotely operated from the research ship and connected to shore through a high bandwidth satellite connection. Nearly 30 years later, in 2009, we opened the Inner Space Centre (ISC) as the cornerstone of a new building on the URI-GSO campus called the Ocean Science and Exploration Centre (http://www.innerspacecenter.org).
This Centre is the hub for telepresence-based systematic ocean exploration and primarily supports two ships, the E/V Nautilus (http://www.nautiluslive.org/ev-nautilus) and the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer (http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/welcome.html). For the past six years, the ISC has supported multidisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, students, and educators who take part in the live exploration remotely from our Mission Control facility (Figure 2). From this facility, the live video and data streams from the ships’ ROVs and other systems are received and redistributed onto Internet2 and the commodity Internet through various web sites that host the feeds. Audio communication to the ships is also facilitated through equipment in the hub. This facility has revolutionized the way we conduct ocean exploration operations via telepresence.
If you have a question for Dwight,, please leave it in the comments below and we will cover it on thursday. The session goes live at 5pm (BST) and can be found here.