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
from their desks and school children will
capture live footage of sea
The unparalleled look into the deep will run 24 hours a day,
days a week for 30 years. Its tasks will be many: tracking
other marine mammals, monitoring fish stocks, investigating
gas deposits, examining how tectonic plates work, running experiments
to monitor climate change, measuring underwater earthquakes,
underwater volcanic activities and providing
new insights into
Another concept is to have a specific instrument on the sea
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.
says such systems could save governments money by providing
a rich data source to make better decisions. He points to the
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
"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
-- to 'turn the knobs' -- and also get the data from the instruments
the researcher's desktop?" says Mr. St. Arnaud.
"And so we have to develop the technologies to allow them
control that instrument. So we are working in partnership with
National Research Council and Neptune Canada to develop what
called web service tools to allow them to control the instrument."
Mr. St. Arnaud believes similar technology could be used to
offshore oil operations without the need for pricey oil rigs
operate mines without putting humans down the shafts.