OceanGate Foundation works with a number of partners and collaborators to push the boundaries of ocean exploration. Our primary partner is OceanGate, Inc., who provides us with exclusive access to their manned submersibles for education outreach activities. This summer we also formalized our collaborations with NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries program by signing a Memorandum of Understanding for work in the various Sanctuaries around the country. Finally, we continue to collaborate with Bridget Buxton at the University of Rhode Island to further her marine archaeology work in Israel and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.
These partnerships and collaborations led to a number of interesting field expeditions during the summer of 2015. In August we partnered with OceanGate Inc. on a field expedition to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico — diving Cyclops I to 1500 feet and proving the feasibility of their Launch and Retrieval System (LARS). Shortly after returning from the Gulf, we collaborated with Ocean Exploration Trust on a ROV dive to the USS Macon, located in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Our contribution was to retrieve a portion of the Macon for conservation, with the work being completed by Megan Lickliter – Mundon, a Ph.D. candidate in marine archaeology at Texas A&M. In addition to conserving a small piece of airframe from the Macon, Megan is creating a 3D model of a portion of the wreck site. We plan to use this data in future as a curricular focus for either a challenge or hack-a-thon type event. Separately, our on-going partnership with Bridget Buxton at the University of Rhode Island continued in 2015, helping Bridget conduct a variety of work in shallow water sites, including a cache of gold coins in Caesarea, Israel and additional work at the port of Akko, Israel.
Sharing and using the content obtained from these different expeditions is the third major pillar of our program’s strategy. OGF curates and openly shares the data created by both our Challenges and the Expeditions on which we collaborate. The raw and processed data, images, software code and curricular materials created by OGF activities are licensed as Creative Commons (CC-BY) and form a long-lived asset that will provide a foundation for opportunities for new challenges, interesting design projects, new curricula, and student engagement in our work.