Boletín de Enero de 2005
Boletín Informativo


Cableando los Oceános

Complete in Canada and the U.S., 3,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable and power lines will be buried three kilometres under the ocean floor to monitor the entire Juan de Fuca plate running from Vancouver to Oregon. Sensors and instruments will measure everything from currents to fluids in the seabed to tremors on the sea floor. Robotic submersibles

will shuttle the area to perform experiments on command, docking themselves at underwater power stations when they are done. Television cameras will pan, tilt and survey the area, controlled remotely through the Internet so researchers can manipulate their view

from their desks and school children will capture live footage of sea life. The unparalleled look into the deep will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 30 years. Its tasks will be many: tracking whales and other marine mammals, monitoring fish stocks, investigating undersea gas deposits, examining how tectonic plates work, running experiments to monitor climate change, measuring underwater earthquakes, recording

underwater volcanic activities and providing new insights into tsunamis. Another concept is to have a specific instrument on the sea floor dedicated to a specific high school for a semester. It is their instrument, they can do whatever they want with it. Chris Barnes is the project director for Neptune Canada. Mr. Barnes says such systems could save governments money by providing them with a rich data source to make better decisions. He points to the collapse

of the cod stocks off Newfoundland. Canarie's job is to come up with the tools that will allow schoolchildren and researchers to tap into the observatory through the

Internet. "When you have an instrument on the ocean floor 3,000 metres down, how do you provide a researcher who may be located in the other coast of the country access to that instrument, to control it, to change its parameters -- to 'turn the knobs' -- and also get the data from the instruments to the researcher's desktop?" says Mr. St. Arnaud. "And so we have to develop the technologies to allow them to remotely control that instrument. So we are working in partnership with the National Research Council and Neptune Canada to develop what are called web service tools to allow them to control the instrument." Mr. St. Arnaud believes similar technology could be used to run offshore oil operations without the need for pricey oil rigs or to operate mines without putting humans down the shafts.