Hey there! Mission 31 made it into TIME Magazine's Modern Explorers Edition! Check out the magazine at news stands or via collectors on Amazon.com. TIME's online coverage here.
MISSION 31 TED TALK
Using cutting edge technology not really meant for the ocean was tricky! I'm the one filming upside down. It was easier to see the screen that way (and oddly comfortable underwater). Our photography will be featured in an art exhibit at MIT.
"Thanks to a couple of engineers at MIT, we were able to use a prototype camera called the Edgertronic to capture slow-motion video... And that particular camera gives us an insight into what fairly common animals do but we can't even see it in the blink of an eye. ... It gives us an insight into some of the animals that we were sitting right next to for 31 days and never normally would have paid attention to, such as hermit crabs."
"Using a cutting-edge piece of technology that's not really meant for the oceans is not always easy. We sometimes had to put the camera upside down, cordon it back to the lab, and actually man the trigger from the lab itself. But what this gives us is the foresight to look at and analyze in scientific and engineering terms some of the most amazing behavior that the human eye just can't pick up, such as this manta shrimp trying to catch its prey, within about .3 seconds. That punch is as strong as a .22 caliber bullet, and if you ever try to catch a bullet in mid-flight with your eye, impossible. But now we can see things such as these Christmas tree worms pulling in and fanning out in a way that the eye just can't capture, or in this case, a fish throwing up grains of sand. This is an actual sailfin goby, and if you look at it in real time, it actually doesn't even show its fanning motion because it's so quick."
"What I learned from spending 31 days underwater" was the title of Fabien Cousteau's TED talk this month in Rio de Janeiro about Mission 31. My focus on the mission, high speed filming with the Edgertronic camera, is featured from 7:00-9:04. Click here to watch!
From the transcript:
Fabien summarizes the mission's goals and accomplishments, and stresses the need for further exploration of the oceans.
For more info, check out my previous posts about working with the Edgertronic.
AND, Photo Art EXHIBIT OPENING SOON!
I'm also excited to say my KickStarter campaign to fund an exhibit of the underwater slow motion photography we shot on the Edgertronic from Mission 31 was a great success! Those near Boston are welcome to attend the opening on the evening of January 4th in MIT's Wiesner Art Gallery. Just shoot me a message for the details.
MISSION 31 HIGHLIGHTS
On July 2nd I returned to land after living 15 days underwater with Fabien Cousteau and his amazing team. All my blog posts from the mission are on this site, starting from late-spring visits to Northeastern's Marine Science facility at beautiful Nahant and preparations at MIT, to day one of training, to M31 splash down and then splash up.
MIT's Mechanical Engineering Department just produced this video with the article: Undersea living: Alumna joins Cousteau mission. "What’s it like living on the bottom of the ocean for more than two weeks? Nicer than you might think, according to Grace Young ."
Some highlights from the blog:
Some more highlights:
On our last full day underwater -- Day 31 of Mission 31 -- we dove in the morning and then started decompression. I wrote about my last hot chocolate by the magnificent Aquarius viewport in this blog post, and referred to Brain Helmuth's excellent article on The Science (and Math) of Decompression and fellow aquanaut Adam Zenone's post on his Aquarius decompression experience during the first half of the mission.
Decompression: 18 Hours
During decompression, an 18 hour process in total, they seal the door on the Aquarius wet porch; it has a nice greasy O-ring seal that I've accidentally brushed up against a few times throughout the mission. We started decompression by breathing pure oxygen for three sets of 20 minutes, with 5 minuets rest in between. During this time, we were in our bunks and watched Jacques Cousteau's World Without Sun, a documentary film about Jacques's undersea mission Conshelf II attempting to live and work on the seafloor that inspired Mission 31. The New York Times gave the film this great review in 1964! Fabien said in the press conference afterward that it was interesting to notice similarities between the way they did things on Conshelf II and the way we did some things on this mission. But he also noted that we had access to technology that Jacques could only dream about fifty years ago. While we lay there with the masks, dive medical technician Jason joined us in the Aquarius habitat to administer the oxygen. He'd be the only one not breathing O2 as a safety precaution in case all of us on the oxygen suffered complications.
During the second stage of our decompression, the inside pressure of Aquarius lowered from 2.5 atmospheres to 1 atmosphere, over the course of these 14 hours. I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I slept almost through the entire process. I was exhausted and I guess my body just needed 12 hours of sleep... Anyhow, apparently everyone else had dinner as usual and watched the fish out the window. There was no shark-grouper-barracuda feeding frenzy happening outside the window, unlike during the first decompression.
SPLASH UP, Day 32 (because of decompression)
Time flew by during our last morning in the habitat. We all felt rushed. I woke up at 7 AM, and immediately set up the color Edgertronic camera, looking at fish feeding outside the port window. I figured it was my last opportunity to do so! I had to pack up within a half hour though, to help clean and prepare the habitat for re-compression. Shortly after we reached regular atmospheric pressure, the technicians then re-pressurized the habitat to 2.5 atmospheres over a half hour or so. Since we were no longer saturated, this was now like a surface dive for us, and so no longer being saturated, our bottom time was limited. Tom Potts and Carter from the Navy greeted us at the wet porch to escort us to the surface. We pulled on our SCUBA gear in the water and ascended to the surface. My brain didn't really have time to process. With nine divers following one ascent line, I was mostly focused on trying not to kick anyone in the head with my fins. Before I knew it, my head popped above the water. The first thing I noticed was a quad-copter flying above, filming areal shots of the splash up. That's it! We're surface dwellers again!
WELCOME BACK! BUT FIRST, a PRESS CONFERENCE
Then, the Splash Up Party
Right now, I'm in the Miami airport headed back to Boston for 4th of July weekend with friends (celebrating by the water!). Then, mid-next week I go to Aberdeen, Scotland, to start my internship in a company specializing in deep sea sonar imaging. I will attend the OCEANS'14 conference in mid-September, and then I start my PhD studies at Oxford University in the fall! By early 2015, you may see a documentary film in IMAX theaters about Mission 31. I feel like our work with Mission 31 in raising ocean awareness and processing the immense amount of scientific data we gathered has just begun, and that's exciting.
Throwback Thursday, Mission 31: I remember My Undersea Graduation (Mission Day 6).
My last underwater images while officially on Mission 31 (tear). Credit Fabien Cousteau.
This morning we went on an early dive and didn't need to swim far. Right below the wet porch, a school of fish swam and looped around and around sixteen feeding grouper. A nurse shark and groups of snapper joined the feeding frenzy, as Matt, Liz and I watched, in the middle of the action. It was our last dive of Mission 31. It's crazy how quickly time has passed!
This afternoon we start decompression. That's when the pressure inside the habitat changes over the course of 18 hours, from 2.5 atmospheres to 1 atmosphere. Brain Helmuth, the Mission 31 science advisor from Northeastern, just wrote The Science (and Math) of Decompression, and fellow aquanaut Adam Zenone wrote about his decompression experience from the first half of the mission. By 7 AM tomorrow, our bodies will have slowly acclimated to surface pressure, and we'll return to the surface, where we'll celebrate "splash-up."
An overview of Mission 31 science thanks to Earth Island Journal: 31-Day Undersea Mission has Been a Boon for Marine Scientists; A young researcher talks about Fabien Cousteau's underwater living experiment.
This morning Fabien and I dove in the hard helmets for two hours, collecting and labeling the jars with plankton samples from last night and then collecting DNA samples of the sponge species A. Felix.
Around lunchtime, we had an extra special visit from Fabien's sister, Celine Cousteau, who just returned from an expedition in the Amazon. She's an incredible women. I was excited to meet her! She even brought us real food -- a baguette and wedge of cheese -- to enjoy, and borrowed one of my spare Mission 31 wetsuits because we're the same size. I loved hearing her and Fabien talk about their adventures, switching between French and English. Celine said one thing she values most about living away from her comfort zone is the ability to gain a new perspective. Down here, we are "connected," so to speak -- we have Internet and regular visitors -- but we are also disconnected from our normal lives. After their filmed interview, Celine FaceTimed with her son and husband, and then we all took a selfie ...
Time has flown by. I've lived with the same five people for the past 13 days underwater, with two more days to go. Honestly, it's been more comfortable than I expected living underwater. I miss my friends and family, although we've kept up via Skype. In terms of health and comfort, I'm no worse for the wear. The ear infection I had last week is cleared up, although I'm still on prescribed ear drops. Our Navy doctor made a house call today and looked at my ear in the wet porch. I happened to meet Celine as she got out of the shower (to wash the salt off) and I was getting my ear exam on the step of the wet porch -- it's tight quarters here!
Observing the vibrant ecosystem in our backyard never gets old. It's different every day. This evening, we saw Wrasse mating. Our photographer Matt spent an hour filming a grouper at a cleaning station, letting cleaning shrimps go in and out of its gills. Matt said it took days for the grouper to get comfortable enough with his presence there.
In the afternoon, Liz, Professor Brian Helmuth, Francis from Northeastern, and I live chatted with the Boston Museum of Science from the coffee table at Aquarius. We told them all about our research, and how and why we're living underwater. The audience asked intelligent questions, like had we seen a particular type of coral, what was the future of Aquarius, and why is exploring the deep ocean such a challenge. It was a fun chat; the video is here.
On our evening dive, Liz and I deployed the 12 plankton traps for Amanda's research. It's our second-to-last day setting plankton traps, and we set them up in record time -- 30 minutes. The first time we set them up it took us a little over an hour. We used the extra time to look for two elusive species of sponge for DNA samples. We haven't found them yet; but tomorrow is another day.
The Northeastern surface team also posted some some beautiful images of sea life from around Aquarius in their blog Perks of Underwater Science with this video of a Goliath grouper who hangs around the habitat and is nicknamed JYC (after Jacques Yves Cousteau).
Now off to dinner, then bed!
There's more Grace Under Pressure blog at Aquarius Day 4: Science and Ballet Arts Undersea.
It's scary how fast time as flown by since living and working undersea. Only one day left on Mission 31 and there's so much we'd like to do! In a way, feel like we're just getting started. The research, ocean outreach, great people involved and connected with Mission 31, and experience exploring the ocean have been fantastic.
I was asked, "Have you been scared underwater?"
1. Spooked, but Not Scared
A reporter just asked if I've encountered anything scary on Mission 31. The answer is that I haven’t felt scared; but I have been spooked. I was in the water for over an hour setting up the Edgertronic camera, focusing so intently on the scene we were filming that I didn't notice day had changed to night. When I looked up, it was pitch-black around me. I shined my dive light to my left, and a reef shark brushed right past me! I was spooked, but not scared. We are always in communication with our support teams while diving via the communications line in our helmets, and are trained to deal with any sort of emergency. We also run through a checklist before every dive. I always feel safe down here. I also had a staring contest with a barracuda on one of my first Mission 31 dives.
Last summer I was working on a robot for NOAA in Hawaii and was scuba diving with a few friends there. We were about 20 ft. underwater. One of my friends is a marine biologist, and while we were swimming, I turned around and there was an octopus (about the size of a scuba tank) wrapped around him! My first instinct, of course, was to freak out! But I looked at my friend, and he looked so peaceful. He was playing with the octopus. The octopus was on him for a couple of minutes and then he swam away. It was one of those moments where you learned to balance emotion and logic. (Learn more about the amazing octopus in my blog.)
2. Scared, but Hopeful
In general, my greatest fear is that we’ll destroy many of our fragile marine ecosystems before we even know they exist, or have learned what they can teach us. As I said in our Mission 31 chat from Aquarius with National Geographic, "I find it incredibly frightening that we have the technology to completely destroy the ocean in my lifetime." The oceans are mankind’s life support system. They produce up to 70% of our oxygen, absorb huge amounts carbon dioxide that would otherwise asphyxiate us, filter vast quantities of natural and man-made toxins, and provide essential food for billions of people. Yet we know more about the dark side of the moon than we do about two-thirds of our own planet! We know our survival depends on the oceans, yet we’re killing them with overfishing, pollution, and acidification cause by greenhouse gases, not to mention the implications of rising temperatures. Based on current trends, experts believe all marine life will become extinct in my lifetime unless we start managing our oceans better -- now.
"We have to start with knowledge; there is so much more to learn and discover about our oceans."
How much plastic is in the ocean? Way too much. This infographic by One World One Ocean explains. We can do simple things, like reuse and properly recycle. We can also ask if the plastic we're using is necessary, such as straws.
Here's an earlier post from my blog: Hey, now you can buy clothes made from that plastic that's polluting the ocean.
STUNNING VIEWS OF LIFE IN THE SEA
"We are seeing sea critters move on a whole new time scale."
Capturing Ocean Life in Ultra Slow-Motion Video
What are currently doing on Mission 31? Here's a behind-the-scenes video diary of some of our work. We are using cutting edge technology to view ocean life like never before. We need to be fully saturated to capture these images at this depth because of the length of time required for set-up and filming in the ocean. Living at the same atmospheric pressure as the surrounding sea is a huge advantage that allows us to spend unlimited time working in the ocean. So, the research we're doing this month would take months or even years to accomplish with surface dives. That's one reason Mission 31 is so important and unique.
Science Day & Night in Aquarius
Read more at:
WHAT'S IT LIKE LIVING UNDER The SEA?
What's it like to live underwater?
Aquarius is currently the only working undersea laboratory in the world. It's located just off the Florida Keys and is about the size of a school bus. There are enough bunk beds, three stacked on each side, for six aquanauts to stay at one time.
The Magnificent Exterior
Let's begin with the exterior of Aquarius, which has become a living coral artificial reef. Aquarius is located in a marine sanctuary and run by Florida International University (FIU). I never tire of living among the beautiful vibrant colors here. Take a look at this video to find out what makes living undersea so important for ocean research. FIU describes the lab this way:
Fellow aquanaut Liz Magee from Northeastern's Three Seas Program with the Edgertronic camera as we work together to capture images of sea life.
Setting-up the Edgertronic camera. This image is from Matt Ferraro, a fellow aquanaut and filmmaker from Changing Tides Media with over 15 years of experience.
More blog at:
- What's Mission 31 About? This is Worth the Watch and
- Stunning Views of Life in the Sea, which shows some behind the scenes photos of setting up work with the Edgertronic camera.
SPLASHDOWN: AQUANAUTS SWITCH MID-MISSION
I also posted Jawfish And Friends: Aquarius Day 5 today.
AQUARIUS DAY 5: JAWFISH AND FRIENDS
VIDEO OF THE DAY
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Here's a sneak peak of the kind of footage we are capturing. This clip shows a yellow-headed jawfish popping out of it's den, and then spiting out a mouthful of sand. In real time, this happens in the blink of an eye, but today we filmed it at the high speed of 2,000 frames per second, so you can see details of the fish's movement. We've also filmed sail fish, crabs dancing (what are they doing?!), sergeant major, coral cups feeding, Christmas tree worms, and bubbles. Incredible!
WAIT, WHY IS THE VIDEO IN BLACK AND WHITE?
AQUARIUS VIEWPORT SWIM-BY
This was a great Google hangout today about coral reef health in the Caribbean Basin hosted by Northeastern University's Urban Coastal Sustainability Initiative. Fabien, Liz and i were conducting research outside and "dropped by" to say hello in the Aquarius viewport. "You never know who's going to swim-by the viewport when you're in Aquarius," said Mark Patterson.
WOMEN IN SCIENCE
THE ARTS AT AQUARIUS, UNDERWATER BALLET
It's just amazing what you can discover, spending six hours in the water! Who knew bubbles moved so strangely like that? We also captured many videos of sea life, including coral cups feeding, crabs dancing (what are they doing?!), a sergeant major fanning it's eggs, and even a little zooplankton narrowly avoiding being eaten by a coral polyp. The other videos need some post-processing, but I'll distribute as soon as they're out. (And I'll post this video in a more accessible format when the internet is stronger tomorrow.)
Fellow aquanaut Matt Ferraro, a filmmaker with over 15 years in film production, has some more great footage of us working today, but you'll have to wait for that to come out in the documentary film!
Congrats! DAY 20, LONGEST AQUARIUS MISSION
G'NIGHT FOR NOW ...
Aquaman actor Adrian Grenier waved hi to me through the viewport yesterday.
Day 3 already! Oh man. Time is flying by. Even Fabien thinks so. As of today, he, Otter and Ryan have been here 19 days, making it one day longer than the longest previous stay in Aquarius. Just incredible.
When I rolled out of bed, every one was already up and at'um, eating breakfast, chatting, and prepping gear for the day. I started pulling on my wetsuit at about 6:30am, meanwhile reviewing with Liz our plan for the dive.
This morning of our dive we collected samples in jars from the plankton traps (described in this previous post), and then stored the jars in a mesh bag that Northeastern divers will pick up in the afternoon. We also adjusted a tripod around a giant barrel sponge. The tripod suspends a sensor above the sponge, and the sensors measures the sponge metabolism.
Met an astronaut, in the water!
On our second dive of the day, from noon to 3pm, we greeted astronaut Clay Anderson in the water. It was unreal. Fabien, Liz and I all shook his hand as he stepped onto the "porch" of Aquarius. We then gave him a tour around the house. A video of his visit is here. There's an interesting New York Times' article about the space and sea: Cosmic Connections in the Deep Sea. Living undersea, I have a new appreciation for our planet as a whole. Both astronauts and aquanauts are willing to live in an alien environment to explore the unknown, which links our cosmic work, whether it be in space or ocean. We are still looking for life in outer space, but there's so much undersea.
During our afternoon dive, Liz and I also used a plankton tow to collect more plankton samples. You can read more about the research we are doing with the Northeastern topside team at their blog, specifically Amanda's post about zooplankton.
Astronauts and Aquanauts on Jacques B'Day
OUTREACH, Great Questions
Skyping with classrooms ... the students have great questions. Credit Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis.
In between research dives, we are Skyping with different groups around the world, spreading the word about how exciting and important the oceans are. Yesterday, I Skyped with the AAT Project and the Birches School (read about my fall visit there) and from the research boat last week. Birches' kindergarten through third grade students asked:
There are more great adorable questions from this group in the fall.
More Grace Under Pressure blog at Aquarius Day 4: Science and Ballet Art Undersea.
I also posted: What's Mission 31 About? This is Worth the Watch today.
It's daunting trying to write and comprehend everything that's happened today. Arrived, Alive and Well Underwater is below. It's almost unreal. I've imagined today, descending to Aquarius as a home underwater, over and over, and -- after training and hearing of other's experiences, I imagined it pretty much exactly as it was. Nothing was much of a surprise, except for maybe the slight butterflies in my stomach. In the image left, I had just made my bunk and was viewing fish from the viewport. A shark swam by right after I snapped this photo.
Unwrapping the camera housing felt like unwrapping a birthday gift. Billy, Brian, and Mike from our production team stayed up with me to gawk over the camera and housing. It's really a special piece of equipment. Doc Edgerton from MIT was with Jacques Cousteau on Calypso in 1954, and now as an MIT alum, I'm in Aquarius using Edgertronic with Fabien Cousteau in 2014! Lot's of history being made here.
Before sending it underwater, I wanted to make sure, once again, that I understand the ins-and-outs of the Edgertronic camera and housing. Fortunately Sexton, the maker of the the underwater casing, thoroughly tested the case for us, and made everything as user-friendly as possible.
Northeastern Professors Mark Patterson and Brian Helmuth, both former aquanauts, and their graduate students joined us yesterday for dinner, and this morning they waved us "bon voyage" from the dock at 7:30AM. They'll be in the water with us, conducting research via surface dives (about 45 minutes to avoid need to decompress), for the remainder of the mission. In addition, we're in regular communication about research procedures and goals. Liz and I enjoyed the wind and sun on the boat ride out to our new home.
AQUANAUTS SEE THE SUN ... NO TURNING BACK
Adam was the first to resurface. He arrived with arms open, in the victory pose. I can't imagine what it must be like to finally feel the sun and breath air from an endless sky after over two weeks. I'll know what that's like soon enough, however. We gave all the returning aquanauts (i.e., Adam, Andy, and Kip) hugs as they boarded the boat, ready to make the journey back to shore. I asked them humorously, "Guys, should we really do this, or turn back now?" Without hesitation, they all said Aquarius is worth it. Go! There's nothing like what we're about to do.
TRADING SPACES & WORKING UNDERWATER
After the long dive, I worked with our resident expert photographer Matt on the Edgertronic camera.
See the difference the Edgertronic high-speed camera can make! Water drops I filmed with the camera.
Water drop I filmed with regular video from my iPhone at MIT's Edgerton Center in May.
Fish filmed through Aquarius viewport, 500 frames per second. We haven't perfected the graininess (ISO setting) or focus yet, but that's coming with underwater tests.
Goodnight, but first...
ALIVE, WELL, AND UNDERWATER!
First Aquarius Post from "at Atlantic Ocean"
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACQUES COUSTEAU!
Where would Jacques want to celebrate?
. . . the ocean! Pioneer explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau said, "The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
Today we celebrated under the sea in Aquarius what would have been Jacques' 104th birthday. In commemoration, we all wore red caps, like Jacques' team was known for. We also brought red cap-shaped cookies down to Aquarius, from our friends at Lucky 13 Bakery.
"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat." --Jacques Cousteau
My visit to Aquarius today was a surface dive only, so we could spend only 45 minutes maximum in the habitat due to decompression. Time flew by! It was great to chat with Fabien and Kip, and briefly with Andy and Adam as they headed out for research. They're none the worse for wear -- cheerful and extra grateful for the cookies (a welcome respite from the freeze dried food). See Andy's video diary about why they tend to eat "astronaut food," and see this video about how we can send food from land. There'll be a video about today coming out soon; stay tuned!
We also collected sensors for Northeastern's environmental contamination study. The sensors are powerful although they look vaguely like plastic bags floating on lines (image credit Mission 31/Billy Snook). They will detect even tiny pollutants, including PCBs, PAHs, and potentially dispersants from the BP oil spill.
CONNECTING LAND AND SEA
Yikes! We arrived back to base at 4:30pm, just when I was suppose to leave for a talk at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. Cutting it close. I quickly changed and left just in time to make the event. Thank you Bob Howard from the MIT Club of South Florida for the ride!
On the drive to FIU, I really enjoyed Bob Howard's stories of MIT from the 1960s. He talked about working on punch-card computers, getting drafted for the war, and then working at the Pentagon. It's pretty crazy we ended up meeting in the Keys!
There was an impressive turn out for the talk. I was happy to see many young people in the audience; including a group from FIRST robotics, which brought back fond memories because FIRST introduced me to robotics as a high school student. Also attending were MIT Club of South Florida members, FIU students, and visiting coral reef scholars. The talk went well, despite experiencing every speaker's nightmare. My laptop crashed just before my talk without saving the last version of the presentation I'd prepared oh-so-carefully yesterday. Even though in my mind the slides weren't quite right, no one in the audience seemed to notice and everything went well. It was a good reminder to be prepared for the unexpected because things in life don't always go as planned.
After introducing Mission 31 and Skyping with Andy in Aquarius, I spoke more broadly about ocean exploration. The audience was enthusiastic and asked many excellent questions, including details about aquanaut training and life underwater in the habitat. Others asked about my background in ballet and how I got started in robotics, which was through FIRST robotics, and how this organization influenced my career path! Thanks to Bob Howard, Gary Chin, and Aileen Soto for organizing the fantastic event!
A (COUSTEAU) FAMILY AFFAIR
"If you protect the ocean, you protect yourself."
Jean-Michel Cousteau, when he visited Fabien in Aquarius last weekend.
Today Mission 31 team members Matt and Brian returned from the Amazon, where they were shooting a continuing project with Fabien Cousteau's sister Celine. You can see photos, showing how the Amazon has changed during the lifetimes of three Cousteau generations, in the ebook Return from the Amazon available in the iTunes Store. Matt and Brian told us the Amazon was scorching hot, over 105 degrees F. The 80-degree weather here in sunny Florida must now feel like a cool spring day! The intrepid explorers also shared stories of the bugs and difficulty in traveling around the Amazon. What an experience! I can't wait to hear more over dinner.
Meanwhile, I continue preparing Mission 31 science research from topside. Today we sent out plankton nets for a research project designed by Northeastern graduate student Amanda Dwyer. I'm also counting down till saturation -- 7 more days!
The Turtle Hospital
I posted this story to my Instagram. Thankfully the turtle made it into the hospital's care and is on the road to recovery.
This photo shows one of the recovered turtles; without the care of the Turtle Hospital this turtle would have died from human causes. Let's be optimistic!
If you extra specially care about sea turtles, check out The Turtle Hospital (maybe even call or donate!). There's also a fantastic non-profit called the Sea Turtle Conservancy; I follow them on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all their work (and see pictures of sea turtles on my news feed.)
A DIVING DRONE
I forgot to tell this story. On Spalshdown Day, the Mission 31 production team smartly deployed quadcopters to capture aerial footage of the excitement. Well, there was some problem with one of the copters (never really understood what happened), and it fell into the ocean. Luckily, one of the Navy divers, Carter, without missing a beat, dove in and rescued the copter on a breath-hold dive to 10m. Amazing! Sometimes robots need the Navy to rescue them too.
There's also blog posts: "Shellebrate" -- It's World Turtle Day! and Sea Life Just Fish? Think Polar Bears Too!
Today I graduated from MIT! I'm incredibly grateful for the many, many people who helped me get to this point. Since I didn't graduate from high school, this is was my first degree (B.Sc. in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering). Even though I missed the ceremony, I followed along the live feed and flipped the "brass rat" class ring with the rest of my classmates.
Someone put a model of Doc Edgerton's iconic milk drop image on their cap at commencement. I've been working with the MIT Edgerton Center (blog post here) to use their remarkable high-speed camera for Mission 31. With this camera, we'll try to capture Goliath Grouper's unique feeding behavior, hoping to validate an unproven theory that they use the sound of a collapsing cavitation bubble formed in their head as a weapon to stun prey. We should produce some amazing footage if all works. We tested the Edgertronic camera by filming the M31 German Shepherd mascot "feeding" on milk (video here). Doc Edgerton also worked with Jacques Cousteau.
The commencement speeches were inspiring, such as MIT President's Reif's charge below:
"Whatever road you choose to travel, I want you to reject the idea that what you see in front of you is the best that we human beings can do. I want you to see the status quo as nothing more than ... a place to start, because you know we can do better. ... More daring and more passionate. More rigorous, playful, and ambitious. More humble, more respectful, more generous, and more kind." -- from MIT President Reif's commencement charge to graduates today
- World Oceans Day, which is Sunday
- The Edgertronic high-speed camera arriving with its new waterproof housing from Sexton Corporation next week (Doc Edgerton)
- Ian Sommerhalder visiting tomorrow (Ian's foundation)
- Dinner with Sylvia Earle and Jean-Michel Cousteau (tonight!)
Read more Grace Under Pressure at Aquarius Day 4: Science and Ballet Arts Undersea.
Grace Young (B.S., MIT, Ph.D, Oxford) is an ocean engineer, aquanaut, and explorer currently working at X. She lived underwater as a scientist and engineer on Fabian Cousteau’s Mission 31, and is a National Geographic Explorer.
1. No Engineer is an Island
2. Mission 31 Highlights
3. Sailing Across the Atlantic
3. Return to CERN
Arts & Science
Coral Research Mission
Mission 31 Training
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