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Exploration Live!From the Deep Sea to Outer Space

By October 11, 2013No Comments

Want to explore the depths of the ocean or the far reaches of the universe without leaving home? Researchers and explorers are increasingly offering ways to join their expeditions around the world in real time, no matter your location.

Thanks to video streaming from robots and submersibles and live videoconferencing with astronauts and aquanauts, all you need is an internet connection to experience first-hand the thrill of discovery!


With a mission to bring the deep sea into homes and classrooms around the world, the Ocean Exploration Trust operates the E/V Nautilus in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Led by founder Dr. Robert Ballard, a rotating team of scientists guides expeditions from onboard the ship and through “telepresence,” allowing for researchers to collaborate from afar.

Video captured by ROVs streams to the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island where it is examined and simultaneously broadcast live to the public. This month, the Nautilus is exploring seafloor ecosystems with active seismic and volcanic activity near the West Indies.


It may come as a surprise that some of this summer’s most popular reality television was streamed live…from the deep! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made a media splash with their expedition on the Okeanos Explorer off the coast of the Northeastern US, hooking tens of thousands of viewers.

With daily coverage and live analysis by biologists, geologists and oceanographers likened to sports commentary, NOAA succeeds in getting a whole new audience excited about their daily deep sea squid sightings.


Connecting land-based observatories to the internet, Slooh offers live broadcasts of events in space including spacecraft transits and asteroid and comet sightings. In 2011, Slooh’s footage of the total lunar eclipse was streamed live through Google, reaching billions of viewers, and this week streamed the fly-by of NASA’s Juno spacecraft on the way to Jupiter.

Making outer space even more accessible, Slooh engages a citizen scientist network to crowd-source broadcasts and recently released an iPad app allowing anyone to capture photos remotely using their observatory’s telescopes!


NASA has also engaged a wider audience through live-streaming events from the International Space Station. Astronauts host Google+ Hangouts, fielding questions from viewers around the world, and even teach mini lessons about gravity and physics from the ISS.

On Earth, NASA recently partnered with privately funded Orbital Sciences to live broadcast their Cygnus rocket launch, carrying supplies to the ISS.

With less than 5% of our world’s oceans explored and a whole universe outside of our planet, human exploration is at an exciting peak. Now, live streaming expeditions and events help make otherworldly landscapes accessible to anyone with an internet connection!

Contributed by

Samantha Wishnak
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Blue Marble Exploration
Brooklyn, NY, USA