High-Tech Ship Discovers Huge Plume of Under-Sea Gas and Other Secrets (Video)

noaa exploratorium ship photo

Photo via NOAA

A super high-tech ship, docked in San Francisco, is set to explore the oceans in brand new ways. The goal of the Okeanos Explorer is to map the ocean floor, and it has already discovered a field of 30 volcanic craters a few miles from Bodega Bay, and a never-before-seen plume of gas off Cape Mendocino, which is assumed to be methane. There's another goal of the ship's explorations, and that's to get the general population interested in environmental stewardship. The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration and the Exploratorium have teamed up so that the public can view the real time images sent to land from the ship. Click through to check out a cool video showing the gas plume.

So far the runs off the coast of California are all trials to test out the equipment and processes. But as Mercury News reports, "Through its first-ever undersea renderings, "it will help people make important decisions about the stewardship of the planet," said Dennis M. Bartels, director of the Exploratorium.. The urgency of collecting data about water, atmosphere and climate change will now give it a key role in environmental study."

"Forty years ago our nation united behind a great challenge, then celebrated when the Lunar Module Eagle landed on the moon," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "Today we can unite once more, this time to explore, understand and protect our oceans. NOAA's partnership with the Exploratorium is a terrific opportunity to bring to life the excitement of ocean discovery and new knowledge."

The oceans are 95% unexplored, and despite what we know about dead zones, acidification, coral bleaching and other marine issues associated with pollution and climate change, we barely have an inkling of the bigger picture. This high-tech ship and real time images could help change that, and get people excited about protecting the world's oceans.

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