Via telepresence, data, including high-definition video from the seafloor, is transmitted over satellite and high-speed Internet pathways to scientists standing watches at shore-side Exploration Command Centers around the world. Using Internet 2 connections and the Exploration Command Centers, explorers can remain on shore and participate in exploration operations, communicating real-time with the shipboard operators. Through standard Internet connections, anyone with a computer and web access can watch and listen in on operations aboard the ship, bringing real-time exploration into living rooms, offices, schools and business across the globe.
Through many years of extensive collaborative efforts, the Institute for Exploration (IFE), the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), and the University of Rhode Island (URI) worked to determine the most effective and efficient application of this rapidly evolving technology for ocean science, exploration, education, and outreach. Each subsequent year brought new challenges and innovations. Over the years, we have developed and refined complex ship- and shore-based operating protocols, brought new ship- and shore-based telepresence systems online, and built the hub for this technology at URI, called the Inner Space Center (ISC).
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and IFE's Exploration Vessel Nautilusare the only two vessels in the world that operate under the new paradigm of "telepresence-enabled" ocean exploration. The mission of these two ships is to explore the most unknown areas of the world's ocean, while engaging the interest of scientists, educators, students, and the general public in undersea exploration and discovery through active participation in real time.