8 weeks 3 days
Staying Connected At Sea - One Bit At A Time! (School of Rock 2010)
Submitted by John VanHoesen on Mon, 09/13/2010 - 12:30
I recently started exploring the world of Twitter and quickly discovered how rapidly information can be shared via short tweets from the JOIDES. This is especially pertinent given the connectivity provided on the ship, which addresses one of the questions Ron Schott asked via the geotwittersphere. This connectivity is provided through an ISP that the JOIDES subscribes to which routes a satellite signal from the ship to College Station via Houston. Both phone and data transfer occurs over the same 512 kilobits/second pipe with round trip travel times ranging from ~300 to 1500 milliseconds. For comparison, on land we typically achieve speeds of <10ms - so it's a tad 'bit' slower than normal but we can still check email, blog, Facebook, and Tweet. The ship has an extensive back-up system, both data and power, and now has two sattelite dishes at both ends of the ship to minimize down time with the network. It's an impressive operation with respect to both the computer power (HP4400 workstations and Dual Core PowerMacs) and logistics.
Just as a summary for folks in the geoblogosphere who aren't following the other blog posts, the primary purpose of this expedition isn't to pull core or any samples from the seabed it is installing an ACORK seafloor observatory in the Cascadia region. The observatory will monitor fluid pressure in a thick package of accretionary sediment to characterize fluid flow mechanics, hopefully gain more insight into gas hydrate genesis, and regional seismicity.
I'll work on getting a stryrofoam cub sent down with camera specifically for geoblogger and geotweeters and post photos!