NEPTUNE Canada, the world’s largest regional cabled undersea network, promises to usher in a new era of ocean science when it goes online December 8*
Thanks to a new, wired undersea observatory, when it comes to exploring the deep blue sea, there will be no more of this tethered buoy business or taking ships out to upload data from brief time snapshots taken by instruments. The NEPTUNE network set to go online Tuesday will stream data from hundreds of undersea instruments and sensors direct from the Pacific Ocean floor to the Internet 24/7, year-round.
The network is expected to produce 50 terabytes of data annually, all of which will inform scientists about everything from earthquake dynamics to the effects of climate change on the water column, and from deep-sea ecosystems to salmon migration.
“It’s revolutionary in that it brings two new components into the ocean environment, which are power and high-bandwidth Internet,” says Project Director Chris Barnes, from the project’s offices at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. “We’re really on the verge of wiring the oceans.”
After the Hubble Space Telescope was lofted into orbit, astronomers gained their clearest view of space yet, one freed from the murky atmosphere. “That has transformed how astronomers do their science in the same way that we believe the cabled networks will be changing the way ocean scientists do their science,” Barnes explains.
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