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FW: Aquarius: America's "Inner Space" Station

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  • Vash
    A real life Pitt Type underwater lab: Aquarius: America s Inner Space Station ... ~ Vash ~ If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 12, 2003
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      A real life Pitt Type underwater lab:

      Aquarius: America's "Inner Space" Station

      > http://www.uncw.edu/aquarius/about/about.htm
      >
      > About Aquarius
      >
      >
      > Aquarius is an underwater laboratory and home to scientists for
      > missions up to 10 days long, but to call Aquarius a home is like
      > calling the space shuttle Discovery a mode of transportation. Aquarius
      > is made to withstand the pressure of ocean depths to 120 feet deep.
      > Presently, Aquarius is located in a sand patch adjacent to deep coral
      > reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, at depth of 63
      > feet. The laboratory is attached to a baseplate that positions the
      > underwater habitat (underwater laboratories are also called habitats)
      > about 13 feet off the bottom. This means that the working depth of
      > those inside the laboratory is about 50 feet deep. Located inside the
      > 81-ton, 43 x 20 x 16.5 - foot underwater laboratory are all the
      > comforts of home: six bunks, a shower and toilet, instant hot water, a
      > microwave, trash compactor, and a refrigerator even air conditioning
      > and computers linked back to shore by wireless telemetry! Using
      > Aquarius as a base for research diving expeditions definitely has its
      > advantages.
      >
      >
      > The Cost of Aquarius
      >
      > The cost of operating Aquarius is between $1.3 and $1.5 million a
      > year. This translates to an operating cost estimated at about $10,000
      > per day (total cost of program divided by the number of saturation
      > days), which is a higher day rate than surface-based diving programs.
      > However, a 10 day Aquarius mission would take more than 60 days if
      > conducted using surface-based technology, and few scientists have the
      > time to spend months in the field, when a 10 day Aquarius mission can
      > be used to accomplish the same goals. This assumes that the work could
      > even be conducted from the surface, which many times is not the case
      > because Aquarius provides unique laboratory capabilities (not
      > available using boats). Significantly, the conversion data from
      > Aquarius to surface-based diving assumes an unreasonably rigorous (and
      > risky) dive schedule and no weather delays. If expenses are compared
      > on a per project basis, a 10 day Aquarius mission costs about $40,000
      > more than a 60 day surface-based program - assuming the work could
      > even be conducted from the surface, which in many cases is not
      > possible. Additionally, Aquarius provides significant media access and
      > public outreach capabilities that are not possible in conventional
      > dive operations, and while the program's science mission is paramount
      > these other activities are valuable too. Additional information about
      > the cost of operating Aquarius is presented in: The Aquarius
      > underwater laboratory: America's inner space station.
      > __________________________
      >
      >
      > The Length of an Aquarius Mission
      >
      > Aquarius missions typically last 10 days. We conduct shorter missions
      > at the start of the year for training and to test systems. The longest
      > missions in Aquarius are 14 days, but this doesn't happen too often.
      > We are talking about a special project next year that might last 30
      > days. Interestingly, and this relates to the technique of saturation
      > diving that we support, once you are saturated it doesn't matter if
      > you stay 1 day, a week, or a month - the decompression time remains
      > the same.
      >
      > A brief explanation of saturation diving is presented in the article:
      > "How an Underwater Habitat Benefits Marine Science." Also, take a look
      > at the pressure lesson plan to learn more about saturation diving.
      >
      > At the end of missions aquanauts decompress inside Aquarius, where
      > pressure is slowly brought back to one atmosphere (or surface
      > pressure) from the operating depth of about 50 feet - and it takes
      > over 17 hours. Aquanauts then "lock-out" and swim to the surface.
      > People sometimes think that Aquarius is brought to the surface during
      > decompression, but it stays on the bottom; it's the pressure inside
      > Aquarius that is changed.
      > _________________________
      >
      >
      > How do we get the images from Conch Reef and Aquarius to your web
      > browser?
      >
      > Inside the Aquarius underwater laboratory, three cameras are hooked up
      > to an Axis 2400 video server (we have space for a total of four
      > cameras but we only post images for three). The crew at mission
      > control can connect directly to the video server via IP address and
      > get extremely good video at about 20 fps, which they use to monitor
      > the aquanauts. A CRON script utility, running on the video server,
      > gives an FTP command, which sends a halfsize JPEG and a fullsize JPEG
      > from cameras every 15 seconds to UNCW, who is hosting the video. An
      > applet on the webpage then tells your browser to "refresh" every 15
      > seconds so that you get a new, still image as frequently as one is
      > sent.
      >

      ~ Vash ~
      "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would
      be a merrier world". - J. R. R. Tolkien
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