NOAA Looks for WWII Wreck - Real-Time Video
On February 25, NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer began a series of expeditions to explore America's vast marine protected areas in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Scientists will use ROVs that can dive down 3.7 miles (6,000 meters) to explore never-before-seen deepwater habitats and minerals, marine animals, and potentially, a World War II aircraft carrier. The dives will be broadcast live from the seafloor, allowing anyone with Internet access to watch in real-time.
Building on data collected in 2015, the first expedition will explore unknown and poorly known areas in and around Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The Monument is one of the largest fully protected conservation areas in the United States, encompassing 139,797 square miles. If placed over the U.S. mainland, it would span the distance from Washington, D.C. to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The ship's operations will run around the clock, with ROV dives during many of the days from February 25 to March 18 and deepsea mapping activities taking place during overnight transits. The ROV dives will focus on depths between 800 foot (250 meters) and 3.7 miles (6,000 meters) to explore seamounts, high density coral and sponge communities, and potentially, the Japanese aircraft carrier Kaga lost during the Battle of Midway in 1942.
"Midway is a seminal victory in American history, fought over a great expanse of ocean by naval aviators and warships on both sides," said Frank Cantelas, marine archaeologist in NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. "Discovering tangible remains of the battle will help us understand what happened in this key battle."
The Okeanos Explorer 2016 field season will continue into the spring and summer, focusing on the deep water environments of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, and the Wake Atoll section of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which President Barack Obama expanded in September 2014.
Expected ROV expedition schedule for the rest of the 2016 season:
April 20 - May 11: ROV, mapping, and telepresence operations focused on the southern part of the CNMI and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument
June 17 - July 10: ROV, mapping, and telepresence focused on the northern part of the CNMI and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument
July 27 - August 19: ROV, mapping, and telepresence focused on Wake Island Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument