Join the crew of the ship Okeanos Explorer as they map uncharted swaths of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor, survey diverse deep-sea habitats and marine life, study natural oil and gas seeps, and visit shipwrecks.
Live video feeds from remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with high-definition cameras put anyone with an Internet-enabled computer right in the middle of the action.
Jamie Austin, senior research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Geophysics, leads the expedition.
What: Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition
When: April 11-29, 2012
Where: View live video streams
One highlight of the expedition will come as the team tests a new technique using sound to measure the flow of naturally occurring oil and gas seeps a few miles from the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010.
The disaster caused a massive oil spill. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plans to conduct a census of naturally occurring seeps in the U.S. portion of the Gulf as a baseline for assessing potential future damage from human-made disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon.
Jamie Austin leads the third and final leg of a 56-day expedition that began in early March. Austin served as co-chief scientist for last year's Nautilus Live expedition in the Mediterranean Sea, which also used ROVs and live video feeds to share with the public the excitement of ocean exploration in near-real time.
Known as "America's ship for ocean exploration," NOAA's ship Okeanos Explorer conducts operations around the globe, mapping the seafloor and characterizing largely unknown areas of the ocean.
Interesting seafloor features can be discovered with the deep water multibeam sonar mapping system. Sites are further explored with a conductivity, temperature and depth sensor (CTD) and an ROV.