SCUBAnauts International and GLOBE Begin Research Collaborations with Operation: Deep Climb


A group of 21 young explorers from the Tampa Bay Chapter of SCUBAnauts International will engage in an extraordinary journey to the middle of the Pacific Ocean from 11-21 October 2007. The mission, known as Operation: Deep Climb, will take local middle and high-school aged students from the deep depths of the ocean to the summit of the tallest mountain in the world, and into the universe beyond. Gathering GLOBE atmosphere and hydrology data will be a part of this exciting scientific expedition. The SCUBAnaut mission banner will be flown on the STS-123 Space Shuttle Mission in February 2008 to officially accomplish the mission to inspire a new generation of 21st Century Explorers and promote scientific understanding of the universe and marine environment.

The SCUBAnauts will spend two weeks on Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii where two selected students will partake in the first of a series of deep-sea submersible dives between 300 and 1,800 meters (approximately 1,000 and 6,000 feet) to explore a Japanese midget submarine, map geologic features and hydrothermal vent communities along the flanks of Mauna Kea, and witness the birth and growth of Loihi, the newest island in the Hawaiian chain. The deep-sea dives will be followed by a climb along an ancient Hawaiian trail to the summit of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world, measured from more than 6,000 meters (approximately 20,000 feet) beneath the ocean to approximately 4,000 meters (13,796 feet) above sea level. At the summit, located above approximately 40% of Earth's atmosphere, the SCUBAnauts will learn from NASA astronomers as they gaze out into the universe across exceptionally clear skies.

Throughout the expedition, SCUBAnauts will take GLOBE hydrology measurements such as water temperature, transparency, pH and salinity as well as Atmospheric measurements such as cloud identification, air and surface temperature, also measuring the aerosol optical thickness of the atmosphere. SCUBAnauts will be sending their observations to GLOBE Chief Scientist, Dr. Peggy LeMone, who will be working with the group virtually to analyze their research findings. Look for futureGLOBE Chief Scientist Blog entries that will follow the research underway by the SCUBAnauts during Operation: Deep Climb and into the future.

Oceanographers, geologists, volcanologists, marine archeologists, astronomers, historians, military personnel, and local University of South Florida College of Marine Science and Fish and Wildlife Research Institute scientists will partake in this exceptional educational mission. For more information about GLOBE activities related to extreme environments see the GLOBE FLEXE project at http://www.globe.gov/flexe.

Related Links:

St. Petersburg Times (pdf)
GLOBE Philippines National Geographic Collaboration Research Vessel at Sea (currently underway)
The Highest and Tallest Mountains

03 October 2007




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