Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ANDREA DORIA ship's bell recovered

New Jersey divers Ernest Rookey and Carl Bayer rest their hands on the the "bridge bell" they recovered from the Andrea Doria during an expedition to the wreck. Joining them are historian Gary Gentile, far left, expedition leader Joel Silverstein, below right, and Captain David Sutton, above right. (Photo courtesy of Joel Silverstein/techdivinglimited.com)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Texas A&M Scientists Return from 10 Day Expedition to the Gulf

Texas A&M Scientists Return from 10 Day Expedition to the Gulf
Texas A&M Oceanography Professor John Kessler is back from a 10 day expedition studying the effects of methane gas at the oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico.
Posted: 10:29 PM Jun 22, 2010
Reporter: Clay Falls
Email Address: clay.falls@kbtx.com

An Aggie professor is receiving national attention after wrapping up a 10 day scientific expedition at the site of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill where he studied the effects of methane gas.
"What those measurements at sea tell us is that concentration of methane and some of the other components of natural gas specifically, ethane and propane in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico are astonishingly high," said John Kessler, Ph.D., a Texas A&M Oceanography Assistant Professor.
Kessler returned from his 10 day expedition at sea late Monday night and on Tuesday addressed the media with his team's preliminary findings.
In May Kessler was awarded a $160,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the effects of methane at the oil spill site as well as the impact in oxygen-depleted zones.
"There's a lot of natural gas and oil naturally just emanating from the seafloor and going into the water so does this spill then highlight the possibility that those natural sources of oil and gas contribute to these hypoxic zones," Kessler said.
The team, which included 12 scientists from Texas A&M, Texas A&M Galveston and The University of California, Santa Barbara, discovered that the methane, which amounts for 40 percent of what's spewing from the spill site, is staying in the deep waters and not escaping into the atmosphere.
"It was the deep waters, those below about a 1,000 meters depth that contained those high concentrations. The depth of the water where we were normally working was about 1,500 meters," Kessler explained.
"The trip was incredibly tiring for one but it was very exciting it was my first cruise so I got to experience what it was like to be out in the ocean and we we're spending tireless nights staying up analyzing our samples," said Eric Chan, a Chemical Oceanography Graduate Student at Texas A&M.
Eric Chan was one of the oceanography graduate students who participated in the research in the Gulf.
The team took methane samples above and below the water and got as close as one third of a mile from ground zero and as far as six miles away.
Chan tells us the visible impact of the spill was sad to see
"The majority of the water around that five mile radius was just a sheen on top of the water, you'd see batches of clumped up oil on top and BP they're actually hiring people to actually burn that oil off," Chan said.
Professor Kessler tells us despite the environmental damage being done, the oil and methane leaking should not have an impact on climate change.
"Even at the high end estimates of the amount of oil and natural gas resonating from the riser beam pipe, if all of that material is to go into the atmosphere you'd still have an insignificant increase in the atmospheric budget of this green house gas," Professor Kessler said.
Based on the team's observations some of the test sites showed oxygen depletion levels up to 30 percent, whereas other areas had no depletions at all.
"What really is of interest to us is what's going to happen in the long term. We have a snapshot of what is happening right now in the spill. There's an incredible amount of methane in their, there's more methane and natural gas being pumped in every day," Kessler said.
It's a snapshot that will have a much clearer picture as the team analyzes it's more than one million samples in the weeks and months ahead.
Kessler says their data should also provide a preliminary insight into the actual size of the spill.

Friday, June 18, 2010

OCEAN WATCH: Seattle-area Sailors Complete First Circumnavigation Of The Americas


Courtesy of AroundtheAmericas.org
 (N3) - A sailboat from Seattle will finish a history-making journey Thursday. The crew believes it's the first to circumnavigate the Americas, a feat made easier by arctic warming. KPLU's Tom Banse reports. 

Full story
Just over a year ago, a 64-foot steel hulled sailboat named the Ocean Watch and her four person crew left Seattle. They set course for Alaska and then sailed a big circle clockwise around North and South America. Previously, the barrier to such a trip has been the ice-packed Northwest Passage across the top of Canada. Arctic warming makes that more passable now. Captain Mark Schrader says he's ready to trade the blue of the ocean for the green of his small farm north of Seattle. 

Mark Schrader: "It's the end of the voyage, a completion of something that we don't think anyone else has ever done -- not that that is terribly important. But we've had the most amazing opportunity to talk to people at both ends of the world and everybody in between." 

Schrader explains the adventure had a larger purpose, to raise awareness of threats to ocean health. He says he was particularly discouraged by the amount of trash and plastic debris in the Pacific, which he says could so easily be prevented with just a little care and consideration. I'm Tom Banse in Olympia.

More Information

Event: Flotilla welcoming and shoreside arrival ceremony 
Details: The Ocean Watch crew returns to Seattle after a 28,000 nm circumnavigation of the American continents. Free and open to the public. Preceding the shoreside ceremony boat owners are welcome to join the homecoming flotilla which will include a Seattle Fire Department fireboat. Contact ports@aroundtheamericas.org with questions. 
Date: Thursday, June 17th, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm 
Location: Shilshole Bay Marina Plaza (adjacent to the marina offices and I dock), 7001 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117 

Event: Dockside open house 
Details: Meet the crew, tour S/V Ocean Watch, learn about onboard research and participate in hands-on marine science activities led by the Around the Americas Education Team from the Pacific Science Center. All ages welcome, no cost to attend. 
Date: Sunday, June 20th, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm 
Location: Fisherman's Terminal Guest Dock, 3919 18th Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119 

Event: Public presentation featuring David Thoreson's images from throughout the Expedition 
Details: Led by Ocean Watch Captain Mark Schrader and Onboard Scientist Dr. Michael Reynolds. All ages welcome, no cost to attend. Seating is first come, first serve. Enter at main gates on the north side of the center starting at 6:30 pm. 
Date: Sunday, June 20th 
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) 
Location: Pacific Science Center Eames IMAX Theater, 200 2nd Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Around the Americas Website

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OCEAN WATCH returns to Seattle June 17th after "Around the Americas" 28,000 mile Voyage

Astoria, Oregon (June 12): As it turned out, it was a lot easier getting out of Portland than getting in. At 0600 today, the crew of Ocean Watch untied the dock lines and set forth down the Willamette River en route to, in turn, the Columbia River, the town of Astoria, the Pacific Ocean, the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Port Townsend, Washington, the penultimate stop before returning to Seattle in the middle of next week. The Around the Americas voyage is almost around.

Our Mission

Around the Americas is a 25,000 mile sailing circumnavigation of the American continents with the mission of inspiring, educating, and engaging citizens of the Americas to protect our fragile oceans.
The Around the Americas Story:
Sailors for the Sea was founded by David Rockefeller, Jr. , following three years of service on the Pew Oceans Commission.  Seeking to follow the successful model of the Surfrider Foundation and Trout Unlimited in which those who enjoy a natural resource are recruited to become protectors of it, David recruited other lifelong sailors to join the board of his new non-profit organization to focus attention on and raise awareness of ocean conservation.
David and Captain Mark Schrader have been engaged in joint sailing expeditions for two decades, and on one occasion when they were sitting dockside in Naples, Italy during a 2006 voyage around the Tyrrhenian Sea, Mark proposed the concept of an Americas circumnavigation that could bring visibility to Sailors for the Sea and its mission to recruit ocean stewards.  Thus, the Around the Americas (ATA) expedition was conceived.
The founders felt it was important to link current ocean science research and education to the project. Pacific Science Center, a highly respected educational institution in Seattle that uses engaging hands-on activities to educate and inspire visitors of all ages was recruited to be the science and education partner for Around the Americas.  Because of its expertise in curriculum development and informal education, and their history developing bilingual educational materials, PSC was a natural partner with Sailors for the Sea for developing and operating the educational component of the Around the Americas project.  In addition, PSC attracted strong science partners to the project that are active in oceanographic and atmospheric research such as the UW Applied Physics Laboratory and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, and the MIT Sea Grant Program.
This unprecedented expedition began on May 31st when Ocean Watch departed Seattle for a daring voyage through the Northwest Passage, a goal few ships have achieved but which is now possible due to rapid warming of the Artic.  Ocean Watch will also engage in a challenging passage around Cape Horn before returning to Seattle in June 2010.
The goal of Around the Americas is to connect and engage the public with the 64’ S/V Ocean Watch in the following ways:
  • On shore activities in more than 31 port visits
  • Maintaining an engaging website that provides information about the expedition and ocean health issues, daily crew logs and photos from Ocean Watch, and free educational curriculum in both English and Spanish
  • Local, national and international media coverage
Around the Americas seeks to raise awareness of ocean health issues such as:
  • Polar ice melt
  • Coral reef health
  • Ocean acidification
  • Collapsing fisheries
  • Ocean debris and pollution
  • Changing sea levels and coastal erosion
Around the Americas is made possible by generous lead grants from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Unilever, and the Rockefeller Family.  Major support has been provided by James Bishop, Osberg Construction Co, and the Osberg Family Trust.

Ultimate Virtual Expedition to Mars Wins U.S. Army Challenge

CTU instructor's virtual Mars expedition wins Army challenge

2010-06-12 18:51:38
Slip into a spacesuit, step into your spacecraft and prepare for takeoff to Mars — all from your computer chair.
It’s now possible with an award-winning program developed by a team of virtual-reality experts that includes a Colorado Technical University professor.
The program, called the Mars Expedition Strategy Challenge, was the $25,000 grand-prize winner in the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge, a contest launched by the U.S. Army in August 2009.
Created by CTU-Colorado Springs computer science professor Cynthia Calongne and the Air Force’s Air University professors Mike McCrocklin Andrew Stricker, a retired Air Force officer, the program allows participants to experience space travel firsthand.
It was developed in Second Life, an online virtual world in which users interact as avatars.
Users notice satellites, asteroid belts and comets passing by. They hear, see and feel the takeoff.
They are engaged in decision-making and cannot move forward to the next phase until they demonstrate what they’ve learned by taking a quiz.
They face the same questions a NASA commission examined while looking at options for future human space travel.
“It’s not like, ‘Let’s go read some theory about NASA’s program,’” Calongne said. “We use Second Life in many ways, but in particular to make learning come alive.”
The program was developed to answer questions about space travel, and it was later submitted to the contest. The $25,000 was given to Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., for research and development, Calongne said.
It was the program’s ability to engage learners that made it stand out to judges in the challenge, said Tami Griffith, science and technology manager for games and virtual worlds for learning for the U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center, which created and sponsored the contest.
“If you can engage learners, you’re going to be more successful at teaching them,” Griffith said. “The whole intent of the challenge was to go out there and see who has mastered that — engaging learners. This entry was exemplary in that way.”
Students in Stricker’s classroom at Air University at Maxwell are “fascinated” by the program.
“Every time we introduce real-life challenges to students, it captures their imaginations,” Stricker said. “A lot of times, students assume the answer is in textbooks, but lots of times the biggest challenges are still out there to be worked on. (The students) have a role to play; they can help us.”
But the program is not just for students. Anyone with a computer can try it by contacting one of the developers.
And it’s important that people from various backgrounds access the program and try to answer questions about space travel, Stricker and Calongne said.
“It’s amazing how many people think, ‘My ideas don’t matter,’” Calongne said. “And it’s really not true at all.”
One of the greatest benefits of Second Life is that it allows the global community to come together to share ideas, she said.
The Mars Expedition Strategy Challenge allows users to answer questions about space travel, such as whether the U.S. should invest its time and energy into visiting the planet.
“The space program is everyone’s program, not just scientists and engineers and congressmen,” Calongne said. “We all have vested interest in it.”
A person doesn’t have to be a professor at a university to have important input, Stricker said. Using a virtual space means many opinions can be shared, he said.
“They can share thoughts that we normally otherwise wouldn’t have even considered,” Stricker said. “It’s a rare opportunity for us, because it’s hard to get those kinds of inputs.”

Visit Second Life at www.secondlife.com
To try out the Mars Expedition Strategy Challenge, contact Cynthia Calongne at calongne@pcisys.net

Sunday, June 6, 2010

NASA MOON PROGRAM CANCELED - First (NASA) Arctic Oceanographic Voyage in Hopes of New Funding

20100615 Update:

Arctic Expedition Launches from Dutch Harbor, Alaska

The small, remote town of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, is the last stop in civilization for a team of NASA-funded scientists, who will be leaving June 15, 2010, from the harbor on Unalaska Island for a five-week research cruise into the Arctic.
Along with 85 Coast Guard crew members, a team of 43 scientists will head north aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the United States’ newest icebreaker, to study how climate change is affecting the ecology of the Arctic.
This natural-color image from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite shows the island, which is part of the Aleutian Island chain that separates the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea, on July 29, 2006. The town of Dutch Harbor is split between two peninsulas; a northern part that is south of the airport, and a southern part, which is connected to its neighbor by a bridge. The wakes of several ships are visible in the surrounding waters.
To follow the expedition in coming weeks, please visit NASA’s ICESCAPE blog

Bon voyage Healy!


Whitehouse says "NO" to Moon Program - NASA grieves over canceled program - NASA now on a sinking ship... grabs USCG life ring Voyage.

Administrator says end of moon program is like ‘death in the family’

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden pauses during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday.

NASA and President Barack Obama's administration expect to spend months working out the specifics for their new plan for U.S. space exploration, even as some within the space agency mourn the loss of its current effort to send astronauts back to the moon.

President Obama's 2011 budget request for NASA cut the agency's Constellation program completely, effectively canceling a five-year, $9 billion effort to build new Orion spacecraft and Ares rockets.
The new space vehicles were slated to replace NASA's three aging space shuttles (due to retire this year) and launch astronauts into orbit and on to the moon.
- - - snip - - -
Now that NASA has lost it's Moon Program funding they are grabbing like a bunch of sailors on a sinking ship for anything in sight to keep afloat as a Government Agency... but claiming to make the FIRST (NASA?) ARCTIC OCEANOGRAPHIC VOYAGE (on the USCG ICEBREAKER 'HEALY') is stretching Arctic history a mile... while space science and Arctic science (aka under the auspicious of  "climate change" and NASA ozone data fakery claims) are all intertwined it is obvious that NASA is flexing Agency muscle to lay claim to anything with approved funding to keep their cumulative heads above water while lack of Government Space funding sinks their Space Exploration flagship.
Mr.President - what in heavens name are you thinking? NASA is a NATIONAL ASSET (brains and technology). I believe you have just placed yourself aboard a sinking ship too. Strike number two. Change is coming...
- - - snip - - -
WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 8 to preview the agency's first dedicated oceanographic research voyage. During the mission, scientists will study changing Arctic climate and ice conditions affecting ocean ecosystems.
The "Impacts of Climate on Ecosystems and Chemistryof the Arctic Pacific Environment" mission, or ICESCAPE, will investigate how climate change in the Arctic may be altering the ocean's ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. The voyage will collect critical observations to compare to NASA's satellite views of ocean biology and sea ice. The data will improve scientists' understanding of this key component of Earth's climate system.

The five-week voyage begins June 15, departing from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy. The ship will sail through the Bering Strait into the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the northern coast of Alaska. More than 40 scientists will use an array of instruments to sample the physical and chemicalcharacteristics of the ocean and sea ice, as well as the biological characteristics of the microscopic plant and animal life that regulate the flow of carbon into and out of the sea. A second voyage is planned for 2011.
The teleconference participants are:
-     Paula Bontempi, ocean biology and biogeochemistry program manager, NASA Headquarters, Washington
-     Kevin Arrigo, ICESCAPE chief scientist, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.
-     Don Perovich, ICESCAPE co-chief scientist, U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, N.H.
To participate in the teleconference, reporters must contact Steve Cole at 202-358-0918 or stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov for dial-in instructions. Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA's Web site at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
For more information on ICESCAPE, visit: http://www.espo.nasa.gov/icescape

Date: 8 June 2010

Location: Washington, DC, US

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The summer melt of Arctic ice opens up nearly three million square miles of ocean and land

BERRIMILLA's Amazing Voyage - Northwest Passage

Sail-World.com News

Berrimilla's amazing voyages, including North West Passage - 16 June
11:29 PM Tue 18 May 2010 GMT 

'Berrimilla and her intrepid crew'    Peter Campbell ©

Sydney-siders will get a chance to hear Alex Whitworth and Peter Crozier share their story about the most recent circumnavigation adventures of Berrimilla, a Brolga 33, at the next Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) Information Evening, on Wednesday 16 June, 2010 from 6.30pm, at New Beach Road, Darling Point.

No other yacht has sailed in both the Rolex Sydney Hobart in Australia and the Rolex Fastnet Race in England in the one year and then sailed back to contest the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

<:img std_Berrimilla1.jpg left :>The second circumnavigation has been a voyage from Australia to England through the daunting North West Passage across the top of Canada to again contest the Rolex Fastnet Race, and a delayed return voyage that took Whitworth and Peter Crozier in Berrimilla down to the French-owned Antarctic Kergelen islands before reaching their home port of Sydney in early March.

Berrimilla is the first yacht to circumnavigate the world under sail via the North West Passage and the first to circumnavigate via both Cape Horn and the North-West Passage - opposite ends of the Americas.

She is also the first Australian yacht to sail through the North-West Passage unassisted and in a single season. (Fine Tolerance transited the Northwest Passage over two seasons, finishing in 2006)

There is no charge for this information evening. Please register your attendance with CYCA reception
by email reception@cyca.com.au or 8292 7800, and tell them Sail-World sent you.

This evening is proudly presented by CYCA Cruising

\The 33 foot yacht Berrimilla alongside in Dutch after sailing non - stop from Sydney Australia. With a crew of two - Alex Whitworth & Corrie MacQueen. Joined in Dutch by Kimbra Lindus, they have since conquered the North West Passage and are heading to Falmouth UK across the Atlantic. Read about their amazing adventure at:http://awberrimilla.blogspot.com/