Deep-Ocean Observatory System
What is a Deep-Ocean Observatory
System? Until now scientists had to retrieve data from experimental buoy
platforms by either traveling to the site, or relying upon satellite
transmission. Low bandwidth satellite data transmission is commonly used,
but high bandwidth transmission using satellites is very expensive. The
Deep Ocean Observatory System will supply users with power and Ethernet
connectivity to a shore station utilizing
fiber optic telecommunications cables for real-time data retrieval. The
characteristics of electro-optical cables allow researchers to greatly expand
the scope of their experiments, and to consider semi-permanent instrument
installations in the ocean, without the need for routine servicing to replace
batteries and recover data.
Basic Observatory Configuration
Click on different elements in the picture above to learn their function.
A major goal in the design and fabrication of the Deep-Ocean Observatory was to provide the science community with an Observatory platform that connected scientists to their experiments on the ocean floor. The Observatory could be used as a terminal node, or one of many nodes on a new, or existing fiber-optic cable. The Observatory platform had to provide stable power and a reliable communications interface between the experiment and the user. The link between the Observatory and the experimenter will be designed as simple as possible, minimizing the engineering requirements for experiments and maximizing the potential number of users.
The core communications link of the Deep-Ocean Observatory is a standard Ethernet LAN (Local Area Network). A functional Observatory test system has been operating since August 2004 in the SOEST/ESF lab. It is presently connected to a spare ULF (Ultra Low Frequency) seismic package to simulate operation on the ocean floor. This unit has all the functionality of the actual deployable system.
The Observatory controls the power and communications, and the ability to control the bandwidth available at each of the eight available experimenter ports. Fully redundant controllers and LAN elements are designed to provide maximum reliability and minimum maintenance for extended deployments.
Remote access to a fully programmable 48 Volt circuit breaker system is achieved by using a microprocessor control module. Incremental control over the power available to each user is designed to limit the dynamics that can occur in each experiment. This provides a guarantee of reliable power service to other users.
Higher voltage (400 Volts) and power (200 Watts) are available for experiments or sub-multiplexer nodes that are located a considerable distance from the Observatory site. This higher output reduces cable power loss by a factor of 50, and could allow a relatively light and disposable cable to venture over rough terrain to a remote experiment.
Page Last Modified 09/26/2008