NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory provided information about the Deep Space Network, the international network of large-dish antennas supporting interplanetary spacecraft missions. The exhibit also illustrates radio and radar astronomy observations in the exploration of our solar system and the universe, including northern lights above the earth and long-range photos of comets streaming long tails.
The transitional link between deep space and the deep ocean is provided by the many satellites circling the globe and the land and water observations made by NOAA. Ocean researchers use mapping data gathered from satellites, ships and remote-controlled cameras on the ocean bottom.
The NOAA portion of the exhibit details ocean-bottom research work taking place at the Axial Seamount, located 250 miles west of Newport, Oregon) as part of the NeMO (New Millennium Observatory) Project. The site has been under observation for the past four years and is best known for its seafloor hot springs or underwater volcanoes, called hydrothermal vents, where organisms live which may be some of the oldest on earth. The Aquarium's exhibit includes a split section of a hardened chimney core from one of the smaller hydrothermal vents.
In addition to viewing the scientific information about the NeMO Project, visitors may try on for size a genuine World War II-era Mark-5 dive helmet formerly used by deep-sea divers. The brass and copper helmet with glass windows was donated to the Aquarium by retired U. S. Navy diver Greg Apodaca.
The Aquarium is open every day except December 25; hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day. For additional information about the Oregon Coast Aquarium, surf www.aquarium.org or call 541-867-FISH (867-3474).
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