Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dr. Robert Ballard launches new Nautilus expedition

Beginning today, Sea Research Foundation’s Dr. Robert Ballard and the Corps of Exploration—an international team of scientists, engineers, students and educators—welcome Mystic Aquarium guests aboard the E/V Nautilus as the team explores the deep waters of the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas off the coasts of Turkey and Cyprus. At a press conference on July 12 at 1:30 p.m., Ballard will launch the 2012 expedition in Mystic Aquarium’s Nautilus Live Theater and connect live with Expedition Leader Dr. Katy Croff Bell, who is currently aboard the Nautilus in the Black Sea.

At the request of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the Nautilus’ scientific expedition was postponed several days while Ballard and his team searched for, and subsequently located, a Turkish Air Force RF-4E Phantom jet piloted by two Turkish Air Force officers that were reportedly shot down by Syrian air defense off the coast of Syria. For the official press statement on the mission, please visit

Located in Mystic Aquarium’s new Ocean Exploration Center, the world’s only exhibit space dedicated to Ballard’s work and home to the new Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below exhibit, the Nautilus Live Theater is a 50-seat, state-of-the-art theater space that delivers live expedition coverage in high definition onto the big screen. Through telepresence and two-way ship-to-shore technology, guests will join Ballard and the Corps of Exploration aboard the Nautilus as they search for undiscovered natural wonders of the undersea world, as well as lost chapters of human history.

"It always excites me when I look for one thing and find something else. Those are the moments of true discovery,” said Ballard. “I enjoy sharing my experiences at sea, and with this technology I don't have to wait to come home and tell people about it. They can come aboard the ship and be there at the moment of discovery. Rather than read about our findings, they can say, 'I was there.'"

Audiences will see footage from Ballard’s previous expeditions, hear about his greatest discoveries and expedition goals during an interview, get the latest news on shipboard activities and recent findings and see the tools and technologies used to explore oceans. Guests will also have the opportunity to talk with a Corps of Exploration member and watch images from the ocean floor in real time. A Nautilus team member monitoring the expedition’s progress from shore will host the daily live shows and explain to the audience what they are seeing on the screen.

“Through the Nautilus Live Theater, and social media platforms, Sea Research seeks to expand our understanding of the oceans and inspire the explorers of tomorrow,” said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Sea Research Foundation, which operates Mystic Aquarium, the Ocean Exploration Center, and The JASON Project and its Immersion Learning program. “These components will forever transform the way in which scientists, students and the public experience deep-sea exploration.”

People worldwide can experience the next generation of deep-sea exploration 24 hours a day at the newly redesigned and on Facebook and Twitter. Each of these outlets is designed to give viewers the experience of being aboard the ship, looking over the shoulders of the scientists and crew and listening to their conversations during the two-month-long expedition, enabling participants to learn about and share discoveries in real time and communicate with each other as they watch live ocean exploration and shipboard activities during each leg of the journey. features multiple live video feeds from cameras aboard the Nautilus and her remotely operated vehicles, allowing visitors an intimate look at shipboard or underwater activity. Additional site features include a deep-sea simulation where visitors can take the helm of a Nautilus vehicle; status updates detailing current expedition activities and discoveries; a science event log, which features scientists’ descriptions of what they see on the sea floor; maps showing the ship’s current location; and blog posts from the Corps of Exploration.

The Nautilus Live Theater connects to Nautilus daily through Sept. 1, 2012, at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Unknown Ocean, a brand new theater experience, shows daily at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. The Unknown Ocean is an interactive experience that reveals how modern sonar technology accurately maps the deep ocean and fascinating biological life that is discovered using remotely operated vehicles.

Show tickets are distributed at the aquarium information booth at no additional charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit for additional show details. For more information on Ballard’s expedition or to follow it live from your computer, visit

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