Into the deep

March 1, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgOn the third floor of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS), a student leaned forward and asked: Will the future of deep-sea technology be human or robotic?More than 1,000 miles away, in the Gulf of Mexico, Bruce Strickrott stood next to the Alvin, the deep-sea research submersible, and answered simply: both.Comparing human and robotic exploration was unfair, said Strickrott, the chief Alvin pilot with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, because both have great value. But, he added, “Every time I’ve taken someone down in the submarine who’s only worked with [marine robotics], they always say, ‘I never knew it looked like that.’”Rindge and Latin students in Cambridge were communicating with Harvard researchers and scientists who were in the Gulf conducting a “verification cruise” — the first of its kind — on the Alvin sub, which had undergone a comprehensive upgrade over the last three years to expand its capabilities.Commissioned in 1964 as one of the world’s first deep-ocean submersibles, the vehicle had been out of service since December 2010. Having already completed more than 4,600 dives, Alvin’s upgrade now allows the sub to safely operate to more than 14,000 feet below the surface, 2,300 feet deeper than it could previously. Able to carry two scientists and a pilot on dives lasting up to 10 hours, the Alvin has located lost hydrogen bombs, explored hydrothermal vents, and surveyed the wreck of the RMS Titanic.With its new upgrade, the sub now has “all the bells and whistles,” said Peter Girguis, a professor in Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.  Girguis proposed the verification cruise, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. Joining forces with Paul McGuinness, the marine biology teacher at Rindge and Latin, Girguis gathered Alvin researchers, scientists, and crewmen to talk with the students about their work and discoveries, even sharing new images and videos not yet released to the public.Speaking in an interview a week prior to the Gulf expedition, Girguis stressed that “we need to begin doing a better job of engaging students” in marine science. “By the time students go to college, many see some career paths as impractical. We want to show [them] that marine science has many viable career options, not just being a professor. We need ocean engineers, captains who can pilot the ships, researchers who work in fisheries. We want to give students an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the people who are doing those jobs.”“The opportunity for all kinds of students to talk face-to-face to the people on a vessel like that, answering questions in the moment, is really valuable,” said Caspian Harding, a Rindge and Latin senior and an intern with the Girguis lab through the CRLS Marine Science Internship program at Harvard. “It shows you can be a pilot, an engineer, a videographer. All these options are open. It shows you really can pursue what you love.”The verification cruise included six to eight dives over several days. The trip tested the sub’s new upgrades and allowed researchers to complete “incidental science,” exploring the Gulf’s diverse ecosystems and further examining effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.Responding to a student asking about “the next big questions” for marine science, Harvard graduate student and Girguis lab member Heather Olins said the possibilities were endless. “It’s a hard question to answer,” she said. “We know so little about the floor of the deep sea that all the questions are big questions.”At the end of the day, “out here at sea, a lot of people pitch in to help,” Girguis said. “The fact is, it really takes a team of people working together to get things done.”This collaboration is one of many between Harvard and the Rindge and Latin.  To learn more about the University’s partnerships with local schools, visit Harvard Community Connections on the Web.last_img read more

USS Normandy In Haiti; USS Vinson Treats Patients

December 20, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgBy Dialogo January 18, 2010 The cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) arrived off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti Jan. 17 to support Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE, the joint U.S. military relief effort for earthquake victims. Normandy, homeported in Norfolk, Va., will support relief efforts by providing air surveillance for the heavy air traffic in the area. The ship will also act as a ready deck, or an at sea platform able to accept helicopters on deck and provide refueling services. Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 46, from Mayport, Fla., has two SH-60B helicopters onboard Normandy and will also contribute to the relief efforts with additional air lift support. *Vinson Receives Haitian MEDEVAC Patients * The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) received seven injured Haitian civilians at approximately 7:30 p.m. EST Jan. 16 when a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60J Jayhawk helicopter on a MEDEVAC mission was forced to divert due to weather. The helicopter was taking the earthquake victims from Port-Au-Prince to a hospital near Cape Haitien on the island’s northern coast. The ship’s medical personnel are currently treating the seven Haitians, including a two-hour old infant. The aircraft carrier, which arrived on scene within 72 hours of tasking, is supporting the unified U.S. military response to the disaster by providing its 19 helicopters to airlift humanitarian supplies to the Haitian people.last_img read more

Byron expands footprint in Gulf of Mexico area

September 28, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgImage source: Byron EnergyOil company Byron Energy has been awarded three more blocks in the Gulf of Mexico by the U.S. government, following four blocks awarded to the company earlier this month.Byron said on Wednesday that the blocks were awarded to Byron Energy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on June 19.The company added that its South Marsh Island block 70 (SM 70), Vermilion block 232 (VR 232), and Vermilion block 251 (VR 251) at Gulf of Mexico OCS Lease Sale 250 held on March 21 was deemed acceptable by the BOEM.Byron was the high bidder on SM 70, VR 232, and VR 251 along with Eugene Island blocks 62, 63, 76, and 77 which were awarded on June 8.The company bid $1,101,100 for VR 232 as the lease bonus amount. Byron’s bid for VR 232 in OCS Lease Sale 247, in March 2017, was rejected and this amount represented the value placed on the block by BOEM. Byron has mapped a gas and gas condensate prospect on the block with an in-house calculated gross prospective resource potential of 11 Bcf and 170,000 barrels. This prospect could be tested from the Byron operated SM71 F platform, but there are currently no plans to drill VR 232 until production levels at the platform allow it to be produced efficiently in the event of success.Also, Byron identified two other higher risk/higher reward exploration prospects on VR 232 which require further geophysical evaluation before a drilling decision is made.According to a participation agreement between Byron and Otto Energy from December 1, 2015, Otto elected to participate in the acquisition of VR 232, pending award, for a 50% interest in VR 232.Under the agreement, Otto must pay an amount equal to a gross 133% of Otto’s 50% interest share of acquisition costs, which includes the dry hole cost of the initial test well, plus a gross fifty percent 50% of other past costs paid by Byron.In electing to participate in VR 232, each company will own a 50% working interest and a 43.75% net revenue interest in the block. Upon the award of VR 232, Otto has no further rights to participate in any blocks or projects, including SM 74, under the December 2015 participation agreement.Byron also said that it identified several higher risk exploratory leads on both VR 251 and SM 70. These leads will be evaluated once Byron completes its South Marsh Island project seismic reprocessing work in late 2018.Apart from VR 232, the company placed a bid of $225,520 for the 5,000-acre VR 251 block and a bid of $273,370 for the 5,468-acre SM 70 block. Byron does not currently carry any in-house reserves for either of these blocks.Maynard Smith, Byron’s CEO, said: “We are very pleased to have received all seven of the leases we bid for in Sale 250.”“We have greatly expanded our footprint in the SM71 area where we now hold working interests in seven leases. By the end of the year, we will have newly processed Reverse Time Migration seismic data and inversion data over all of these leases.“We look forward to working with Otto on VR 232 and building further value upon the success of SM 71. Otto has been a very good partner at SM 71 and has displayed great patience after the VR 232 bid was rejected last year.“[…] now, through Sale 250, we have added a total of seven new blocks to our inventory of future projects. Our team is currently focused on the final planning for Bivouac Peak as we prepare to initiate the drilling phase of that project in the second half of 2018.”last_img read more