Touring the boat

May 10th, 2009
Today we toured the back half of the ship.  On a boat, the part in the back is called the stern.  The engines that move the ship are located near the stern.  The spin propellors under water to help us go forward.  We also learned how the ship makes drinking water.

Even though we are on the ocean, we cannot drink the water because it is too salty.  The ship brings ocean water in and heats it up with the engines so that it all turns into a cloud.  Then the cloud settles on a different plate and fills a tank.  The salt from the ocean water is left behind, giving us freshwater to drink.  Have you ever had a cold drink outside on a hot day and noticed water on the outside of the cup?  That is how we get our water.
Before we can study the mud from the seafloor we have to get it.  The seafloor is very far down in the ocean, 10 times further down than our ship is long.  To bring up mud from the bottom of the ocean, we have to drill for it.  Drilling is when you dig a round hole into the ground with special equipment.  If you look at the picture above, you can see two digging tools for getting mud.  On the left is a tool we use to dig into hard rocks, like the ones a volcano is made of.  On the right is a tool that is used for softer mud, like we will be getting on this trip.  All of this drilling is done on the stern part of the boat.  It is very complicated, and the people who bring up our mud (in a round tube called a core) are the best at what they do.  They have lots of experience.
After our tour, we got to eat a lunch of spare ribs, sausage, hamburger and corn on the cob.  We then learned more about how the mud will be tested and read.  We cut open some cores to practice on, because no one ever does something perfectly the first time.  The cores were from a place called the Ongtong-Java Plateau, which is located just above Australia.
For dinner we had breaded shrimp, tamales, beef stew, and the usual rice, salad, and french fries.
Tomorrow we will be working with new mud that was collected by the scientists on the trip before us.  I love to learn, and I took forward to teaching you.

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