North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences Website
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Q: When will the video that is being produced be ready for public viewing? Will it include footage from other years? Where can we go to see it? Will you have any "hands on" specimens or replicas exhibited along with the film?

Art films action on deckA: The high-definition production should be ready in about six to eight months. It will premiere at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on the 22-foot wide screen in the WRAL digital theater. The final version will include footage from several years. As you can imagine, we get interesting footage from every cruise. Our challenge is editing it down to something the public will enjoy.

We are also excited about other applications for these images, including interactive DVD/CD-ROM materials, television productions, and museum exhibits. The Museum currently has a deep sea diorama in the Coastal Hall, and there is an exhibit hall cart that allows visitors to touch and hold some of the objects we have collected. The Museum's expansion plan includes a building dedicated to helping people understand the process and value of research. We hope that Life on the Edge and similar projects will be a part of that new venture.


Q: What equipment and software are you using to capture these images? Will they be available to teachers and students during the next school year? Have you thought about ways to use these images with pre-collegiate students or in professional development programs for teachers?

Liz takes a photo of an urchinThe still photographs are from several different digital cameras. Art and Liz are using Nikon digital cameras and Katie is using a Konica Minolta digital camera. Art is also using several video cameras including a Sony HD camera and a Panasonic Mini-DV camera. The sub is equipped with a Sony underwater HD camera, as well.

These images will be available on the Museum's web site year-round. Since the images will be available to anyone with Internet access, students and teachers may use them for educational purposes. The museum is also working on a proposal to get funding to create CD-ROMs to distribute to teachers for educational purposes.


Q: You mentioned the charging of the sub battery. What more can you mention about it? How exactly does the battery operate the many(?) functions of the sub, how long does it take to charge, and how long does a fully charged battery last?

Sea Link II SubmersibleA: The sub's battery is similar to a car battery. A car battery typically has 6 cells that produce 2 volts of electricity, making a total of 12 volts. The sub's battery has 14 cells producing 2 volts each for a total of 28 volts. The 3600 lb (1633 kg) battery is about the size of a refrigerator and is attached to the bottom of the sub. If the sub had trouble surfacing, it could release the battery and the lighter sub would surface quite quickly. If this were to happen, there is a back-up battery near the back of the sub that could keep life support systems operating (like the oxygen tanks). This smaller battery has the same voltage, but only 8.8 percent of the main battery's capacity (it would only last 150 ampere hours, whereas the main battery could last 1700 ampere hours).

During normal operation, the sub's battery powers many different things including propellers that move the sub, lights in and outside of the sub, cameras, mechanical arms, suction tubes, oxygen pumps, and CO2 scrubbers that take exhaled carbon dioxide out of the air. Under normal circumstances the battery lasts about three to three and a half hours. It takes four hours to recharge the battery. The ship also keeps a spare battery on board just in case.

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