Ocean Observatories

Graphic: Ocean Observatories

Caption: Schematic of a planned ocean observatory with instruments and cables deployed on the ocean floor.

NEPTUNE is an integrated system designed to provide power and communication, in real time, to a network of electro-optical cables linking a large number of instruments distributed over a seafloor area of at least 500 by 1000 km. NEPTUNE's Phase 1 Feasibility and Conceptual Design Study (supported by the NEPTUNE Partners and the National Oceanographic Partnership Program) demonstrates that a cabled system can deliver the required power and communications bandwidth with reliability, flexibility, and at an affordable price.

Two cabled observatory Test Beds are planned. MARS (the Monterey Accelerated Research System) and VENUS (the Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea) are nearshore observatories under development in the U.S. and Canada as proof-of-concept sites for cabled observatories such as NEPTUNE. MARS and VENUS will test the technology to be used at cabled observatories and will allow scientists to develop and test many of the experiments that could eventually be deployed on NEPTUNE. VENUS has been funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Source: John Delaney, University of Washington

NSF Funded: Yes

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