On November 22, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opens its re-imagined “Mission to the Deep” exhibit, highlighting the valuable work of its partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).
Inside the new “Mission to the Deep” a 360-degree video projection of the Monterey Canyon immerses visitors in a simulated underwater world. In this otherworldly setting, visitors discover how MBARI’s scientists and engineers use revolutionary new technologies to study the ocean.
Overhead, a half-scale model of MBARI’s undersea robot, the remotely operated vehicle Doc Ricketts, shines a spotlight around a virtual underwater landscape, revealing videos of mesmerizing deep-sea animals such as vampire squids, sea toads, and jellies that grow more than three feet across. The program also highlights the latest technological tools developed by MBARI engineers, including an autonomous underwater vehicle that MBARI researchers use to explore alien environments.
“MBARI is so much more than discovering unusual animals,” said Senior Exhibit Developer Raúl Nava. “This exhibit shows how the institute is monitoring the pulse of the ocean, and its incredible – and fragile – biodiversity. We can’t protect the deep sea if we don’t know what’s down there.”
Interactive displays in the center of the exhibit let visitors take a simulated dive deep into Monterey Canyon. Visitors control the dive, and can stop at different depths to learn more about the animals or research equipment they see along the way.
George Matsumoto, an MBARI researcher and member of the exhibit team, commented: “The Monterey Bay Aquarium provides an unparalleled outlet for education and outreach about MBARI’s research and engineering efforts. Working with the talented aquarium exhibit team was a rewarding and engaging experience. MBARI staff were also involved, as they designed and constructed an accurate scale model of our ROV Doc Ricketts for the exhibit.”
The remodeled “Mission to the Deep” exhibit is a companion to the aquarium’s daily “Mysteries of the Deep” auditorium program, in which presenters use high-definition video to share with visitors what MBARI researchers experience on a regular basis, the fantastic animals and mysterious environments of the deep sea.