Visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium can find out what’s it like to explore the depths of Monterey Canyon using an underwater robot in a new exhibit and auditorium program that highlight MBARI’s deep-sea research.
The new exhibit, “Mission to the Deep,” features a virtual dive into Monterey Canyon using a replica of MBARI’s deep-diving robotic vehicle, the Doc Ricketts. In the new auditorium program, visitors learn how MBARI scientists use a variety of robots to study the diversity of ocean life, from microscopic algae to vampire squids, MBARI wrote.
Entering the new MBARI exhibit, visitors are immersed in a virtual underwater world. As a scale model of MBARI’s ROV Doc Ricketts rotates overhead, a 360-degree video projection system displays animals and underwater robots deep in Monterey Canyon. At the center of the exhibit, interactive displays allow visitors to perform their own ROV dives, stopping at different depths to learn more about animals and MBARI research equipment in the deep sea.
The new exhibit and auditorium programs, which opened on March 28, 2015, are the result of almost a year of planning and preparation by staff at the aquarium and at MBARI.
George Matsumoto, a marine biologist at MBARI, spent many hours planning the exhibit and the auditorium program. “Working with the talented aquarium exhibit team was a rewarding and engaging experience,” he said. “The aquarium provides us with an unparalleled outlet for education and outreach.”
Raúl Nava, a senior exhibit developer at the aquarium, commented, “MBARI is so much more than discovering unusual animals. This exhibit shows how the institute is studying the pulse of the ocean, as well as learning about its incredible—and fragile—biodiversity. We can’t protect the deep sea if we don’t know what’s down there.”