Lost City 2005 Mission Images

The exploration of the Lost City Hydrothermal Field continues. The IFE Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) Hercules and Argus are capturing high definition video and images from sites around the Lost City hot springs system on a mountain top over 2,000 feet below the surface waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This data is then being streamed to researchers a quarter of the world away for analysis, while a live video stream has been made available to the public over the Internet. This Internet video stream at a resolution of only 352 x 240 pixels cannot match the torrent of information streaming over Internet 2 to researchers, but is a breakthrough for public outreach. Using Apple’s Quicktime video play, the video’s frame rate is relatively high and remains passable when the window is doubled in size.

The images from Lost City could be right out of a James Cameron movie. Hercules is attached to Argus by a long cable. While Argus takes context images from a safe distance, Hercules hovers close to the white and cr

The two goals of the mission were to return to Lost City for further exploration after its discovery in 2000 and to test technology for distributing data live to various research nodes on land. Previous missions required participating researchers to travel with the expedition. It is hoped that distributed data gathering using high definition video and images will increase scientific activity, allow more researchers to participate, and improve safety. Techniques learned during the Lost City 2005 mission may also be useful for future telepresence exploration of other bodies in our solar system. For example, future rover missions to Mars enabled with high definition video could increase scientific returns many times over the current Mars Exploration Rovers mission. A first step will be the ability of the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory rover to capture short video clips as it explores the Red Planet.

The Lost City 2005 mission continues through early next week, with live video expected throughout.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.