The VISIONS'11 expedition will take place aboard the 274-foot R/V Thomas G. Thompson from August 11 – September 1, 2011 and will include the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) ROPOS. The primary purpose of the expedition is to continue to prepare for, survey, and assess the on-going installation of the Ocean Observatories Initiative's (OOI) Regional Scale Nodes (RSN) high-power and high-bandwidth cabled ocean observatory. The OOI, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, is planned as a networked infrastructure of science-driven sensor systems to measure the physical, chemical, geological, and biological variables in the ocean and seafloor. The OOI will be one fully integrated system collecting data on coastal, regional, and global scales. The RSN component of the OOI will extend continuous high bandwidth and power to a network of instruments widely distributed across, above and below the seafloor in the northeast Pacific Ocean as well as throughout the water column.
Major goals for the VISIONS'11 expedition include:
- Conduct deployment and recovery tests of the RSN primary nodes by L3-MariPro;
- Complete site verification of secondary node and sensor locations at Southern Hydrate Ridge and Axial Seamount;
- Conduct mapping and physical properties studies of the 10 km extension cable route from primary node 1B to Southern Hydrate Ridge;
- Complete site verification for full water column mooring infrastructure at the base of Axial Seamount; and,
- Conduct surveys of the backbone cable deployed at Axial Seamount by L3-MariPro prior to this cruise.
To complete these objectives there will be two cruise legs. Leg 1 will be from August 11 to August 19 (Seattle – Newport); Leg 2 will extend from August 19 to September 1 (Newport – Seattle). This expedition will also include a well integrated, hands-on University of Washington educational program for undergraduate and graduate students.