Kilo Nalu Observatory

Kilo Nalu imageThe Kilo Nalu Observatory (KNO) is located on the south shore of Oahu, east of downtown Honolulu and west of Waikiki and Ala Moana, just off Point Panic and Kakaako Park. KNO provides a window into the physical, biological and chemical environment of nearshore coral reefs, as well as data and power connections to a suite of observational instruments that resolve waves, tides, currents and nearshore water quality. The observatory is managed and maintained by ORE. It supports both ORE teaching (e. g., infrastructure and instrument development and data analysis) and for research projects (e. g., developing autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) docking, navigation and command and control; small scale wave energy converter prototype testing; and new sensor testing). KNO is a testbed for the deep water ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO, below).

Aloha Cabled Observatory

The ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO) provides another avenue for ocean observations and ocean technology development. Since June 2011, the ACO has provided power, network communications and timing to instruments at a seafloor node 4728 m below the water surface, 100 km north of Oahu; it is the deepest power and Internet node on the planet. ACO is a prototypical example of a deep observatory system that uses a retired first-generation fiber-optic telecommunications cable. The cabled observatory system provides infrastructure for continuous, interactive ocean sampling enabling new measurements and new modes of ocean observing which integrate ship and cabled observations. Present sensors measure currents, pressure, temperature, and salinity, along with video and acoustics. Students are able to analyze data from the ACO for projects, design and fabricate new sensors for the system, and participate on service cruises with a state-of-the-art ROV. ACO uses KNO as a testbed.

Other Opportunities for Laboratory, Field Work and In-Ocean Experimentation

current meter image

ORE maintains research facilities at the UH Marine Center (at Pier 35 in Honolulu Harbor) for field work and in-ocean experiments. These facilities include a test tank, field research equipment and instrumentation (with machine shop support), as well as access to various ocean vessels. In addition to the larger ship, Kilo Moana, there is a 19-foot “Safe-boat” as well as local boats that can be hired as necessary. Field equipment includes SCUBA diving gear, acoustic current profilers, current meters, pressure sensors, wave gauges, anemometers, hydrophones, buoys, and mooring equipment. The UHMC also operates the remotely operated vehicle ROV Lu’ukai, rated for 6,000 m. It is used to service the ACO, as well as for other research such as deep sea biology surveys for deep sea mining studies.