NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Live Feed

More than 95% of the ocean remains unexplored...
The Okeanos Explorer wants to change that

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Take a virtual voyage to the deep sea by watching NOAA's Okeanos Explorer live feeds

The Okeanos Explorer

Since we can't all hitch rides with to the bottom of the sea, (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is giving us a virtual tour to Neptune's realm during missions of the Okeanos Explorer through live feeds.

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 NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Live Feed: ROV Camera. Note: The video is muted by default.

The Okeanos Explorer is the only NOAA ship to have a dedicated ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) on board. Although ROVs have been used on other NOAA ships, they are usually removed at the end of a trip. Having a long term ROV makes it a lot easier to deploy at any time of course. On board the Okeanos Explorer, there is a control room for handling the ROV and the communication equipment. The live feeds of Okeanos Explorer makes it more efficient to support long-term exploration in distant areas of our planet.

NOAA Ocean Explorer

"America's Ship for Ocean Exploration," the Okeanos Explorer is NOT a research vessel. Its mission is to explore and map the seafloor. It does that with the help of the "multibeam" (a sonar mapping system), the CTD (Conductivity Temperature and Depth sensor) and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

High-definition videos from the underwater ROV can be sent to the ship and then to the coast, all in real-time, thanks to "telepresence" -- a mix of technologies which allow an individual to feel as if they were present at a place other than their real location.

noaa okeanos explorer
This is NOAA's Okeanos Explorer. Image Source.

How the Ocean Explorer Transmits its Data?
The Okeanos Explorer's V-SAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal), wrapped in the ship's large golf-ball dome, can send video live feeds and any other information through Internet2 -- a high-speed internet connection widely used by universities.

The Okeanos Explorer Live Feeds

Throughout the live camera feeds of Little Hercules (Okeanos Explorer's remotely operated vehicle) we can explore the depths of the northern Gulf of Mexico from the safety of our homes. So, what are we looking at? Well, you're watching video feeds from the ROV as it investigates the bottom of the ocean. The video feeds change during the day (or night) based on ROV's current mission. The video feed on top of this page is the LIVE view from the remotely operated vehicle, while the video below is the LIVE feed from the Seirios Camera (showing the "Little Hercules" ROV when in a mission).

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 NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Live Feed: Seirios Camera. Note: The video is muted by default.

When the ROV is NOT in a mission, you may see previously recorded footage on both feeds. Also, during "Little Hercules" launch and recovery, you may see live footage from the port and starboard HD robotic cameras. Should you want to keep your eyes on the Okeanos Explorer live feeds, know that the dive schedule is pretty straight forward: the ROV is launched in the water daily around 8:00 am EDT (Eastern Daylight Time, USA & Canada) and brought back to the ship around 5:00 pm EDT.

It can take from 45 minutes to over 3 hours to get to the bottom of the ocean (or back to the surface) -- so if you only see blue water when you first click the videos, don't worry about it. Just get back to the feed later, but make sure you leave the sound on, so you can hear the commentary.

Sometimes, when you see strange graphics on the screens, mapping operations take place. The ROV is not in the water at that time, and you can watch the seafloor being mapped in real-time. But that's kind of boring if you ask me. Just make sure you tune in on time to catch all the dive missions of the "Little Hercules." The deep sea is a mysterious place, and the Okeanos Explorer anticipates discovering new ecosystems and species.

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