You know you’ll love your job when you hear about one of the requirements daily is to “get on the Science Party Line.”
SPL is what E/V Nautilus uses to connect its public audience viewing from home, work, lunch break, school, cubicle, couch, airplane or park bench – to the live exploration going on each time the ROVs are in the water diving. Questions, comments, jokes, musings – anything can be typed into the chat box below the camera’s live feed on Nautilus Live. If the green button is illuminated, someone like myself, an SCF (Science Communication Fellow), will be on the other end to receive and translate out to the team in the van on watch at the time.
This facet of Nautilus is what sets us apart from other expeditions such as NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer. We bring the whole experience to the audience live, adding experts and scientific conversation led by the SCF and putting deep sea exploration in your hands.
Each watch team stays for 4 hours (12-4, 4-8, 8-12), twice a day, at the top of the ship in a control van – essentially a Conex box that looks like a miniature NASA Mission Control. I have a watch from 8-12 (so tune in then and send me your questions! and hellos!). Watch teams consist of 7-9 people per shift with one SCF, one video engineer, two-three ROV pilots, one navigator, one chief scientist, and one or two data loggers.
The job of the SCF is to field questions and comments from the chat box and create conversation in the van between all parties, each person lending knowledge and answers related to their field of work or operations on the ship.
Every watch brags they have the “best” watch, and I’ll do the same. My ROV pilots consist of a veteran pilot who was one of three people on the 3rd descent but 1st successful! of the Titanic wreck, and some rising star Engineering Interns who exhibit calm and collected skill in piloting Argus as well as the mainstay vehicle, Hercules. Our navigator had a previous career in the Navy and a degree in Anthropology. My right hand counterpart, the video engineer, spends his days not on Nautilus chasing a sports and entertainment broadcasting truck around the company. In the back row, we have a fountain of knowledge, from our Chief Scientist who studies hydrothermal vents thousands of meters beneath the surface and considers these 700-1000 m dives lately “shallow.” Our science intern is a rising senior at UC-Davis and knows equal parts about deep sea biology, evolution, oceanography and making up his own jokes (claiming the good AND the bad). On this most recent leg we have a Honors Research Program student data logging as well – one of 8 impressive rising high school seniors we have had on board this leg and last who will log data, write dive reports and deploy homemade ocean drifters – 2 are out and floating in the Eastern Pacific, zoom in on the Channel Islands and check them out here!
Quite the party, if you ask me. Add in a curious, worldwide audience and you have a pretty quick 4 hours go by at a time. So what are you waiting for? Logon NOW – if you’re good you could catch ALL 3 watch times in one dive!