The First High Definition Imagery Live From the Seafloor

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The past few days have been filled with intense activity that culminated with complete installation of secondary infrastructure at the hydrothermal vent field called ASHES. During a series of dives into the field, the MJ03B medium-powered junction box was installed, a 1.3 km long extension cable was laid across the caldera to the east and a short-period seismometer was attached at the end of the cable via a wet-mate connector. A second short-period seismometer was installed just north of the ASHES vent field and both sensors were connected to the J-Box. In addition, a 3D temperature (thermistor) array was deployed near the hydrothermal chimney called Mushroom, and also connected to the J-Box. ROPOS powered up the entire system and created a small seismic ‘event’ by gently bumping the seafloor with its underbelly – this was recorded by the closest seismometer. The completion of this installation is a major accomplishment for the OOI-RSN project and insures that it is ready for connection when the Primary Nodes become available.

Today, August 12th, was also a very significant day for the RSN team with successful testing of the RSN-OOI high definition camera, which when connected to the Primary Node via a nearly 4 km cable will provide live streaming HD imagery to the Internet in real-time of an active high temperature vent – Mushroom. Video is now streaming live to the Internet from this camera, powered by the ROV ROPOS!  This is an amazing feat – the video first travels  from the camera to ROPOS over a 30 ft long cable, then 5000 ft up the tether of ROPOS to the R/V Thompson, from there the signal goes to a satellite 22,000 miles over the equator and then to the University of Washington where it is transmitted over the Internet. Next year, the video will be directly accessibly through the seafloor fiber optic cable.