DEep Submergence Science Committee
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Carriage House
Woods Hole, MA
June 16-17, 1998

Meeting Summary Report

A copy of these minutes are available as a pdf: 199806desmi.pdf



I. Meeting Agenda
II. Participant List
III. Deep Submergence Facility Operations Summary
IV. Jason Engineering Improvements
V. ATLANTIS Post Shakedown Availability
VI. Science Liaison Functions
VII. National Facility Upgrades
VIII. MPL Report
IX. NURP West Coast Center Activities
X. DESSC Input to Future Deep Submergence Science Issues
XII. Available Traction Winches
XIII. Deep Submergence Vehicle Requests - Summary

I.  Introductory Remarks

The DEep Submergence Science Committee met in the Carriage House of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on June 16-17, 1998.  The meeting was called to order by Mike Perfit, DESSC Chair, at 9:00 am.  After introduction of participants, the agenda was reviewed.  The items of the agenda, Appendix I, were addressed in the order as reported below.  The participants of the meeting are listed in Appendix II.

Accept Minutes - The DESSC meeting minutes of December 1997 were accepted as written.

II.  National Facility Operator's Report

Dick Pittenger began by first reporting on the NSF Academic Research Fleet Review process.  The Review Committee is Chaired by Dr. Roland Schmitt, retired RPI President.  Their first meeting was held on June 8-10 at NSF.  A variety of presentations were made by members of the UNOLS community.  Dick and Karen Von Damm made a presentation on deep submergence research facilities.  They reviewed the management and administration of the facilities as well as the science drivers.  Copies of their presentation can be obtained from the UNOLS Office.

Dick continued by introducing Bob Brown, a new member of the Deep Submergence Group at WHOI.  He was previously an ALVIN pilot and an ex Navy submariner.

National Facility Vehicles Operations Summary - Rick Chandler provided a summary of the 1998 ALVIN and ROV operations, see Appendix III.  It was noted that this year the average bottom time for ALVIN has been 5.2 hours and the average bottom time for the ROVs has been 35 hours per lowering.  Rick provided a list of ALVIN/ROV highlights from this year’s operations.  The highlights included 25 hours of data collection with the ESC camera sled.  The DSL-120 sonar has been used to survey 357 NM of ridge.  The tube core carousel was successfully used and the Simrad SM2000 multibeam sonar was tested.  The full list of 1998 NDSF highlights is included in Appendix III.

Andy Bowen continued with a report on the engineering development achieved during Guaymas Jason operations, see Appendix IV.  These included replacement and testing of the ring laser gyro.  The Simrad SM2000 was evaluated.  Simrad provided an engineer for the evaluation.  The system is rated to 2500 meters and performed impressively.  The Doppler/Long Baseline system was evaluated.  It appears to be an appealing alternative to EXACT which requires a transducer for use.  A site map was developed for a subsequent ALVIN dive, which was very useful and optimized the use of ALVIN.

ATLANTIS Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) - Joe Coburn reviewed the improvements accomplished on ATLANTIS while in its PSA.  Improvements to the SHIP DURING THE PSA cost $2.8 M and included $1M in WHOI cost sharing funds.  There were improvements for bow thruster noise abatement which resulted in 7 to 10 dB reduction in noise in staterooms at 100% thruster RPM.  Improvements were made to reduce anchor slamming, but it still slams under some conditions.  It was noted that the slamming is a problem that plagues all of the new AGORs and should be addressed by the Navy.  Improvements were made to the HVAC system on the 01 Level.  A mission announcing system was installed.  Overall, the improvements will help to make the ship more livable.  The full list of PSA improvements are included in Appendix V.

There is still a backlog of pending improvements and upgrades for ATLANTIS.  This list of backlog items is contained in Appendix V and still needs prioritization.  Funding for these items has not been identified.  The list includes among other things completing propulsion control upgrades, additional HVAC improvements, and increasing the fresh water storage capacity.  Efforts are continuing to bring SeaBeam performance up to specification.  There are still some problems, however, WHOI feels that the system is working almost to spec.

The DESSC discussed ways to address the prioritization of the outstanding list of improvements.  One suggestion was to have a check off list attached to the PI cruise assessment report.  The PI could indicated the improvements that he/she felt were most needed.  The list would include the back-log items.

DESSC inquired into the status of obtaining additional berthing for ATLANTIS.  Joe Coburn explained that WHOI is not pursuing this at this time.  The estimated costs to add berthing were very high (in excess of $500K).  Additionally, there would be major tradeoffs.  WHOI had a naval architect evaluate 2 alternatives:  Option 1 took up the forward end of the main lab (reducing lab space by 600 sq. feet).  Option 2 added deck house structure forward and lost two van spaces forward.  It would also add much more high weight to the ship.

Science Liaison and Operator/User Communication/Updating the WEB and planning manuals for science - Don Moller reported these topics.  His viewgraphs are included as Appendix VI.  He began by explaining that WHOI is now conducting pre-cruise planning meetings.  The meetings are attended by the PIs, Don, Barrie Walden, Dudley Foster and sometimes Rick Chandler.  The meetings have been useful largely because it makes all parties involved think about the cruise well in advance.

Don provided an organization chart showing the operator’s roles and relationship to the agencies, PIs and other operators.  In the proposed new office composition, there will be  a Coordinator/Science Liaison/Scheduler, an Assistant Coordinator, and a Staff Assistant. One position (the Coordinator) would serve as a replacement for Don Moller.  The other position would be an assistant to this person.  Joe Coburn, Barrie Walden, Peter Wiebe, Dan Fornari, Don Moller and Barbara Martineau will review the applicants.  Dick Pittenger will make the final decision.  [In late summer, Jon Alberts was selected as the replacement for Don Moller.]

In the pre-proposal phase, Barbara Martineau will most likely get more involved.  WHOI will provide assistance to PIs regarding vehicle capabilities, costs, weather windows, instrumentation, and logistical issues.  The WHOI National Facility web site is a good resource for pre-proposal planning; however, WHOI and DESSC need to inform the community that the site is there for their use.

In the scheduling phase, there would be close coordination with the WHOI Port Office, ships, Deep Submergence Operations Group marine technicians and community.  Scheduling will be necessary for the ships, deep submergence vehicles and the future WHOI SWATH.  The coastal SWATH vessel is planned to come on-line in early 2000.  Twenty local labs and institutions are interested in having access to the vessel.  In the cruise preparation phase, the cruise plan/prospectus will be developed using the information from the pre-cruise meeting and electronic scheduling tools.  In the execution phase, WHOI will monitor and provide assistance as needed during each cruise mobilization and demobilization.  This phase will include post-cruise feedback, billing, data disposition, archiving, post-cruise reports and science feedback.

III. Upgrades to National Facility Vehicles and Science Sensors:

Status Report on current upgrades proposal - Dudley Foster reviewed the various deep submergence facility upgrades completed or in progress, see Appendix VII.  Datalogger hardware and software upgrades have been implemented.  WinFrog is being used as a back-up to navigation. The DESSC discussed WinFrog.  WHOI explained that the WinFrog package is so complicated and encompassing that they are trying to convince the vendor to simplify the system and make it easier to use.  It still remains to be seen if WinFrog will be the tool of choice in two years.  Video upgrades and image acquisition infrastructure includes hardware and software, flat panel displays and ROV monitors.  WHOI is evaluating flat panel displays.  Monitors for the ROVs still need to be purchased.

Syntactic foam for additional science payload has been purchased for ALVIN.  The added foam will provide approximately 180 lbs of buoyancy.  Fabrication and installation of the foam is complete.  There will be some adverse trim implications.  Extra steel will also be needed for ballast.  Syntactic foam was also purchased for Jason and will add approximately 90 lbs of buoyancy.  Fabrication and installation of the foam is complete.

The virtual ALVIN model is under development.  It will serve as a power management tool.  The conceptual design has been completed and software development is 70% complete.

Scanning sonar has been procured and the system is under evaluation.  SIMRAD SM2000 demonstrations were planned on Jason and ALVIN in May 1998; Straza 1510 in June 98; and Tritech possible in July 1998.  In the original upgrade proposal there were funds for Imagenix.  However, the industry has been changing so WHOI is investigating to find the best system for the cost.  Simrad does not provide the depth (400m), but they are willing to investigate.  ALVIN search mode requires 1000 meters.  WHOI's planned approach is to upgrade Imagenix, keep Simrad/Mesotech in operation and pursue the SM2000 system.

The Ring Laser Gyro purchase will be cost shared 50% by WHOI.  The prototype system design is complete.  Hardware and software procurement for the development system is complete.  The prototype system as used on Jason in Guaymas.  Integration and final design on ALVIN and ABE is to be done.

Four Slurp pumps have been purchased and the sample chamber has been successfully used.  Progress is being made on the digital snapshot cameras.  Installation and testing is planned for the beginning of 1999.  "Steerable" elevators for ALVIN and Jason were funded by WHOI.  Model testing will be done over the 1998 summer.  WHOI will purchase and evaluate commercial inductive modules for wireless data transmission link.  The LEDs might have more range.

Annual request for upgrades to science sensors and operational capabilities of NDSF vehicles - Barrie Walden reviewed the future process for handling upgrades.  Sandy Shor has indicated that a more routine process of upgrade proposing is desired.  The model used for the "instrument proposals" is appealing.  NSF would rather see yearly proposals rather than the major upgrade proposals which have been periodically submitted .  Since WHOI is still working on the present proposal through 1999, it is expected that there will be no proposal submitted this year.  September 1 is the deadline for upgrade proposals.  The next upgrade proposal is slated for 9/1/99.  [Note:  Since the meeting, Barrie Walden submitted an equipment request for a Simrad bathy system for the vehicles.]

The DESSC discussed the memo from Maurice Tivey requesting the addition of magnetometers to all DSF vehicles.  These cost approximately $10K each.  The DESSC noted that a policy is needed on how to deal with annual upgrade proposals.  Barrie also raised the question of who will maintain these types of equipment that are requested by the user community.

Bob Gagosian’s Welcoming Remarks:

Bob Gagosian welcomed DESSC to WHOI and gave a brief summary of the National Oceans Conference held in Monterey, CA.  Speakers at the conference noted that observatories will be important in the future as will ROVs, AUVs, and HOVs.  Rita Colwell the new NSF Director understands the value of ocean science.  Bob was involved with Presidential meetings involving issues of fisheries, national security, the environment and the oceans.  Bob briefed the President on the group's activities in deep submergence science and exploring the ocean.  There is a lot of interest and focus in this area at high levels of the government.  We need to get the observatories in place for the future.  Bob noted that there is no new funding and that any spending must have economic value.  Most of the Deep Sea Observatory discussion at the National level was tied to exploration and unusual vent activities.  It must be keyed into the economy, such as, biomedical values.

IV.  Operational Summary of Other Deep Submergence Activities:

1.  MBARI - Mike Perfit reported that MBARI funded 60 days for mapping the West Coast using EM300 Simrad, 30 kHz.  The data is spectacular.  Information can be found on MBARI's webpage.  VENTANA work is planned for the Santa Barbara Channel.  TIBURON has been used at 2000 meters.  MBARI is very pleased with the video system on WESTERN FLYER and TIBURON.  WESTERN FLYER will be in the shipyard for repair until May 1999.  Debra Stakes of MBARI recently successfully used the diamond drill core on ROPOS in preparation for Indian Ocean operations.

2.  MPL - Fred Spiess provided a report on MPL activities, see Appendix VIII.  He reviewed the Deep Tow Group’s seagoing operations for 1997-1998.  A side scan survey and bottom photography using Deep Tow was conducted on the Cortes Tanner Banks in June 1997.  The operations were conducted from REVELLE.  Fred provided photographs of the vehicles.  Near-bottom magnetics and sidescan surveys were conducted at 19 S and 17 S using Deep Tow.  These operations were from MELVILLE in April-May 1998.

SINKEX sediment sampling was conducted in August 1997 using the control vehicle.  The Control Vehicle can be used on 0.688 cable.  The Control Vehicle was originally used to place instruments on the sea floor and is now also used to put objects in drill holes.  OSN-1 instrumentation deployment was conducted in Jan-Feb 1998 and recovery along with down-hole logging was planned for June 1998.  A seismometer was installed in the drill hole and hooked up for 24 hours before disconnecting.  Three packages were left on the bottom for recording.  At the time of the meeting, the packages were retrieved and the recorders and seismometers were intact.

Navy Operations - Andy Silver, ONR, reported on 1997 and 1998 Navy deep submergence science operations.  TURTLE had no science dives in 1997 and was decommissioned in October, 1997.  SEA CLIFF had six dives of MPL science work.  Scorpio was used in 16 dives to recover a sunken tower off Hawaii.  SEACLIFF was decommissioned in April 1998 (see report below).  ATV has been used for operations to locate YORKTOWN.  SCORPIO may also be used in 1998.  ATV had in incident this year in which a 17-inch glass imploded.  It has been repaired and is back in operation.

NURP - Cindy Van Dover gave the report and began by stating that this is her last year as Director of the NURP West Coast center.  The West Coast and PR Undersea Research Center 1998 field programs were described, see Appendix IX.  All of the 1998 programs were funded out of the NURP Center and used ROPOS, ALVIN, VENTANA, DELTA, and low cost ROVs.  The total estimated cost (science plus operations) is $1,958,801.  Some of this work also has  NASA involvement.

In 1999, the NURP West Coast Center has decided to pursue the Gulf of Alaska initiative.  In addition to the National Funding, the West Coast center will add funding from their own center funds.  Additionally, there is some follow-up work planned for Juan de Fuca, 9°N and off Southern California.

ROPOS - Mike Perfit gave the report on operations using ROPOS.  Shallow water tests using the drill in preparation for operations in the Indian Ocean have been conducted.  Trials for a hydraulic chain saw will also be conducted.  The saw will be used during operations for the EDIFIC REX program in June/July 1998.  As part of the field program, a three to four meter hydrothermal chimney will be removed from the Juan de Fuca area and brought to shore.  THOMPSON will be the support ship for this program.  The chimney will be put on display in the American Museum of Natural History in NY.  ROPOS will also be used from RON BROWN for two cruises in 1998; one in the Oregon Margin and one at Axial Seamount at the Juan de Fuca Ridge.  Lastly, ROPOS will be used for annual survey of seabed dumpsite near Vancouver Island.  The support ship will be CCGS VECTOR.  Long term upgrades and improvements include a new 5200 meter cable and a new winch.  Additional information on ROPOS can be found at the website,

UNOLS Report

Ken Johnson provided a report on UNOLS activities.  The big item that UNOLS has been involved with this year has been the NSF Academic Fleet Review process.  A review committee, chaired by Dr. Roland Schmidt, retired RPI President, has been tasked to examine the mix of ships, their location, the number of ships, and the UNOLS mode of operation.  The first meeting was held on June 8-10 at NSF.  UNOLS provided a series of presentations which were intended to give a description of UNOLS, the academic research fleet, and the types of research supported by these platforms.  Karen Von Damm and Dick Pittenger made a presentation on the National Deep Submergence Facility Operations and future science needs.  They presented the need for a 6000 meter science vehicle capability.  The second meeting scheduled for 1-3 September at SIO will look at the economics of the fleet operations as well as alternative modes of operations.  The Spring OCE letter requested community input regarding the academic fleet.

In other UNOLS issues, the original gloomy ship utilization outlook for 1998 improved as the year progressed.  Originally, EWING and ENDEAVOR were scheduled to be laid up during the year.  However, EWING was able to accommodate a private charter for geological work off of Canada.  ENDEAVOR was able to schedule a NOAA fisheries program off the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Ken reported that UNOLS held a Town Hall Meeting at the OSLO conference in San Diego.  Attendance was low and might be attributed to a variety of reasons; such as conflicts with other planned activities or the lack of major problems to raise.

Ken concluded by noting that his term will be up in September.  A new Chair is needed and must come from an operator institution.

Agency Reports:

National Science Foundation (NSF) - Dolly gave the report for NSF.  She began by remarking on the Academic Fleet review.  Basically, the committee is charged to look at the overall management of the fleet operations as well as the funding of operations.  Roland Schmidt was vice president at General Electric, retired president of RPI and has served on the National Academy.  It appears that the facilities cannot go on as in the past.  They may need to be recompeted every five years.

Dolly reported on the results of the May NSF panel.  It looks as if 1999 will be a busy year for Deep Submergence science.  Much of the work was already funded prior to the panel.  Some of the funded work will flow into 2000.  The deep submergence facility is the most healthy in the fleet.

Office of Naval Research - Andy Silver gave the report for ONR.  TURTLE, which was decommissioned in October, 1997, will most likely go to a museum.  It has been stripped of its major equipment.  SEA CLIFF was decommissioned in April.  NAVSEA drafted a letter to PMS325, overseer of SEACLIFF, requesting that it be sent to WHOI.  The letter is close to being signed.  Once signed, the vehicle will be shipped to WHOI.  The vehicle will most likely come with two vans plus spare parts.  ATV is doing surveys this year.  It is scheduled to become inactive in April 1999.  [note:  Since the DESSC meeting, SEA CLIFF was delivered to WHOI and the Navy has decide to retain ATV indefinitely.]

The Navy funding for deep submergence science work included 12 days using Jason in Guaymas in 1998.  In 1999, no days are planned.  The ONR facilities budget is approximately $5M.  The facilities program supports ship time on a 80/20 percent with ONR's 6.1 science programs.  ONR has also decided to fund 6.2 ship time programs.  This includes applied research programs such as those conducted by the Navy Labs.  This could add $6M to $8M to the budget.  In 1999, ONR facilities will fund aircraft science time; however, no new money will be added to the budget for this support.  In recent years,  ONR facilities has been not spending its entire budget on ship time.

In other Navy ship activities, the AGOR 26 SWATH vessel is in the design phase.  The entire budget for the design and construction of the vessel is $45M.  University of Hawaii was selected to be the operator.  Lockheed/Martin is the designer.  It was noted that a center well is not planned for the vessel.  There was a lively discussion on the UNOLS/community lack of involvement in the design process of this ship.  To date, UNOLS has not been provided much feedback on the design process.  There is a fear among the community that the design will progress so far along that any changes would no longer be feasible because of cost.  Sujata reported that Lockheed has established a virtual design which can be accessed via an electronic vault with the proper authorization.  Sujata reported that UNOLS/FIC can be provided access to the vault.  Additionally, a full report on the ship's design and status can be provided at the UNOLS Council meeting.  The design process is progressing very rapidly and a better picture of what the ship will look like will be available soon.

V.  DESSC White Paper Discussion

Deep Submergence Science Initiatives - Beyond 2000 - Mike Perfit introduced this topic.  In 1994,  the DESSC Global Abyss was published and recommended the use for ROVs.  In 1997, a review of SEA CLIFF was performed by members of the community and the need for a deep operating ROV was recommended.  At the December 1997 DESSC meeting, the community discussion indicated that a deep, robust ROV is needed to support future deep submergence needs.  In March 1998,  Mike and Dan Fornari met with agency representatives of NOAA and NSF (ONR was not available) at NSF to discuss this need for a new ROV and to obtain advice on ways in which to obtain it.  It was suggested that a community meeting may be useful in defining the future deep submergence needs.  Community involvement in this meeting must be broad and not just include DESSC.  The meeting should ask the question, "What are the tools that we will need in the next ten years?"  Mike suggested that an early 1999 meeting be planned to identify the science needs.  The organizers could include RIDGE, MARGINS, UNOLS/DESSC, ODP, the Federal agencies, and members of the biological and chemical oceanography fields.  Mike has contacted the chairs of these various groups to discuss the meeting plans.  It is hoped that by late 1999, the community should be able to identify the tools needed.  To begin this process, Mike suggested that we take the initiative with a white paper.

Patty Fryer continued with a discussion on the MARGINS initiative.  She discussed the Subduction Factory Workshop held in La Jolla, CA on 6-9 June.  The meeting discussions included the following general areas:

Special topics of interest to DESSC include bottom observations/time series experiments and access to depths greater that 4,500 meters.  A follow-up session is planned at AGU and the science needs will be discussed.

Review written contributions from DESSC members - Next the white paper was discussed.  Prior to the meeting, Mike had asked the DESSC to provide written responses (Appendix X) to a series of three questions:

1.  What are the current important deep submergence science research interests in your field of research?

2.   What do you see as your important future deep submergence research directions in the next five to ten years?

3.  What deep submergence vehicles will be needed to accomplish your research objectives?

Each DESSC member provided a short summary of their respective written responses.

Cindy Van Dover began and reported that she looked at this from two perspectives; one from and NURP view, and the other from her own research view.  She indicated that future research directions include fisheries habitat research, pollution assessment and remediation, and clathrate deposits, tectonic hazards, and sub-ice processes.  To view tectonic hazards, there is a need to go deeper.  There is also a need for diversity.  From Cindy's own research, ridge crest biology, she saw a need to support time series studies, reproductive biology, diversity, physiology, phototrophs and NASA interests.  We also need to address shallow water interests.

Hugh Milburn reported on NOAA's vents interest, primarily in the Juan de Fuca area.  There will continue to be a need to monitor vents.  We must have a suite of vehicles able to fly-away.  For the Neptune program, a team of air-dropped AUVs for monitoring event plumes is envisioned.  There will also be a need for a dedicated ROV for servicing the cable to the Neptune program.

Dan Orange reported that there will be science research needs in the areas of geodetics and gas hydrates.  There will be a need for long-term monitoring of fluid flow/physical properties at the seafloor as well as at drillholes.

Patty Fryer reported that her research will be in non-accretionary convergent margins.  Four factors should be taken into account when considering the facility needs for this type of  research:
1)  Bottom characterization,
2)  Long-term monitoring,
3)  deeper capability tools, and
4)  international cooperation.
In order to study mass transport in these environments, there will be a need to be able to monitor changes in geochemical conditions in situ via the use of ocean-floor observatories.  Both ODP borehole and ancillary monitoring stations on the seafloor will be needed in the future.  These will have to be serviced with a new generation of deep submergence assets.

Mike Perfit reported on research on the submarine portions of island arcs and in back arcs.  Not much is known about the geologic and tectonic history of these features.  Also, very little is known about vent fluids in arc environments and the biologic communities that exist in these locales. Multidisciplinary studies are needed in these areas.

Dan Fornari reported that mid-ocean ridges and hydrothermal vents will continue to be of interest.  There is a need for event monitoring and response.  Embedded in this is observatory type systems.  He suggested using observatories for education and public outreach programs.

Marv Lilley reported on his research in temporal studies of hydrothermal systems and the need to know what is going on with respect to long-term processes in these systems.  There is still a lot to learn about hydrothermal systems.  There is also a need to be able to access several places at the same time, and to perform multidisciplinary studies.  The margins areas include Cost Rico (west), Nicaragua, the Aleutians, Izu-Bonins, Marianas and Tonga.

Bob Collier reported on his research area in chemical interactions.  Hydrothermal systems continue to be of high interest and margins research is a growth area.  In the environmental realm, the deep ocean environment needs to be looked at as a way to entrain CO2, remove it from the atmosphere and entrap it.  A vehicle may be needed to explore this area.  Also noted was that the community has had a difficult time to get funding for rapid response and monitoring programs.

Carl Wirsen reported that his research in microbiology will continue to be an important area in the next five to ten years.  LEXEN will continue to look at the stability of microorganisms.  A sample-oriented group of vehicles is needed for this work as opposed to survey tools.

Jim Bellingham discussed vehicle technology.  He began by reporting that ABE worked well and has undergone a significant amount of maturation.  Many vehicles will be needed to meet future needs.  Jim noted that it was a shame that ABE doesn't have core funding.  Past funding has come from ONR and NSF.  Dana Yoerger reported that an ABE II proposal has been funded by Larry Clark at NSF.  If the AUVs continue to be supported properly, they have a chance of becoming a useful tool.  AUVs will allow you to use the right tool for the right job.

Next, Dan Orange addressed the question of what deep submergence vehicles will be needed in the future, see Appendix X.  From Dan’s perspective, bigger, faster, cheaper and reliable vehicles are need to support science.  From an industry perspective, ROVs (and AUVs) are built for the customer and are not all are alike.  HOVs are still needed to maintain a cognitive presence.  AUVs are needed for interrogation and survey work.  An ROV with torque, strong manipulators, payload, tool chest, and horse power is needed.  One option to pursue would be to buy a commercial core ROV.

Day 2 - June 17, 1998

SEA CLIFF Proposal - Dick Pittenger introduced this topic.  Plans call for SEA CLIFF to be delivered to WHOI (note, SEACLIFF was delivered to WHOI on August 5, 1998).  WHOI plans to take a close look at the vehicle, keeping in mind that the present capabilities of ALVIN must be preserved.  WHOI has submitted a proposal to ONR to perform an engineering study of the vehicle.  Barrie Walden reported on what is contained in the proposal, see Appendix XI.  The proposal calls for an engineering study for a replacement U.S. 6,000 m manned research submersible.  The cost of the proposal is $200k.  With the decommissioning of SEA CLIFF, the US lost it manned presence to 6000 meters, as a result, the proposed study is to determine the best method for obtaining 6,000 meter manned submersible with improved capability and reliability.  The goal will be develop a design, capability and cost matrix.  They would like to determine the best utilization for the system.   To do this, WHOI plans to evaluate other 6,000 meter submersibles (MIR, NAUTILE, and SHINKAI), and study the options.  Utilizing SEA CLIFF to upgrade ALVIN offers a 6,000 m Titanium sphere, syntactic foam, advanced VB system and CTFM sonar.  The proposal calls for reviewing the importance of the viewport location both from a science and engineering standpoint.  Changing the location could improve the comfort level, but it would need to be determined if this would be worth the effort.  It was noted that we need to hear from the community.  What do they need?  The agencies will need more justification of why we need newly positioned viewports.

WHOI’s DSF Perspective - Dick Pittenger provided WHOI’s perspective on deep submergence facilities.  Presently there are ten traction winches available on the U.S. ships, see Appendix XII.  WHOI owns three (ATLANTIS, OCEANUS and one portable).  Scripps has two traction winches, one each on REVELLE and NEW HORIZON.  The others are at L-DEO, OSU, NAVO (2) and NOAA.  Rochester .680 fiber optic cable has proven reliable, rugged and robust.  It is available at WHOI, SIO and NAVO.  Jason is proven and accepted.  Dick provide a time line for bringing a new ROV into the system.  As the new ROV is developed, new technologies will be incorporated into Jason as appropriate.  If we go beyond 6000 meter, we will need to look at new, or revised, cable.  Jason would be kept aboard ATLANTIS with the new ROV operating in a fly-away mode.

There was a discussion on AUVs.  There are more and more coming on-line.  There is the Remus-like vehicle for shallow water work.  Odyssey operates in the shallow mid-water as well as in deep regions (3000 to 6000 m).  ABE I is a long duration, deep ocean vehicle while ABE II will be designed to operate in deep water with improved launch, recovery and data collection capabilities.

Mike Perfit requested that WHOI make a presentation at the winter workshop reviewing their approach for design of the new ROV and explain why they are taking the approach they are taking. WHOI reported that the next-generation ROV proposal is already in progress and WHOI is polling commercial manufacturers.  DESSC pointed out that the community could use a powerful, robust ROV.  Jim Bellingham noted that AUVs could be used to extend the depth capability.  From an engineering perspective there should be a dialog between the people who want to do research at great depths and the people who build vehicles/instruments that go deep.  The Margins group might be interested in the deep AUVs.  It was suggested that for the December meeting the community be asked the questions:  1)  does the community want a heavy duty ROV for work up to 6,000 m, and/or 2) do they want an upgraded ALVIN?

NASA’s Deep Submergence Activities - John Rommel from NASA gave a presentation on NASA’s interactions and interest in deep submergence activities.  Their interests include work in Antarctica, Europa exploration and the “light at the vents” program.  NASA has a compelling interest in placing scientists remotely in deep ocean - how to maintain a virtual environment.  They would like to understand the instrumentation needed to study these processes.  Europa has shown evidence of ice on its surface.  There may be an ocean under the ice.  In the year 2003 there will be a Europa mapping vehicle.  By the year 2008, a Europa landing is planned and they will attempt to send an ROV or AUV under the ice.  It is unknown how thick the ice may be.  The question they are facing is how do you get a vehicle on Europa and how do you get it to work?  There will be a Europa test program.  Other issues include planetary protection - how do we keep earth contamination off the planet.  NASA is looking for a partnership between the oceanographic community and engineering groups.  Funding of $1m is expected for next year.

DESSC Membership Replacements:

DESSC Chair Replacement - Mike Perfit has decided not to stay on for a second term as DESSC Chair.  Nominations were solicited from the community prior to the meeting.  Patty Fryer left the meeting during the discussion on membership replacements.  The DESSC members recommended the nomination of Patty Fryer for DESSC Chair based on her vision for deep submergence science, leadership qualities, DESSC experience, and experience using deep submergence vehicles.  The nomination will be forwarded to the UNOLS Chair for approval. [Patty was approved during the September UNOLS Council meeting].

DESSC Members - Patty returned to the meeting and joined in the discussion on recommendations for new DESSC members.  There are three openings on the committee.  Carl Wirsen and Hugh Milburn have rotated off of the committee.  With Patty becoming the DESSC Chair, her seat will also need to be filled.  Suggestions to fill these positions were made.  It was noted that Bob Embley (NOAA/PMEL) had been nominated and has expressed a willingness to serve on the committee.  His background is in G&G.  The committee agreed to recommend his nomination to the UNOLS Chair. [Bob was approved this Fall].

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - Dolly Dieter reported that the NSF, ONR and NOAA are working on the MOU.  They are considering changing the agreement so that it applies for five years instead of three.  Also, they plan to change the wording so that it says “vehicles” instead of only ALVIN.

1999-2000 Deep Submergence Scheduling:

Review of Planning Letters - Don Moller reported that the 1998 schedule for the submersibles is very tight.  He provided the 1998 timeline, see Appendix XIII.  For 1999, the facility proposal pressure is high with 383 funded ALVIN and ROV days/dives which would require approximately 575 operating days.  Don showed the list of funded programs by region.  The traditional areas still have a lot of pressure.  There is also high demand for time series work.  Don showed a list of proposed/pending programs for 1999 and beyond.  He provided a map of the names and funded programs by area.

For 1999,  ATLANTIS has 381 operating days with 220 dive days.  Don showed a potential cruise track for the funded programs.  The proposed ship schedule is compressed as much as possible.  The ship must stand down in June.  The work should carefully be reviewed to determine which Juan de Fuca ALVIN programs can be accomplished by ROV.

ALVIN’s overhaul is currently planned for winter 2000/2001.  In 2000, ATLANTIS is scheduled to start the year in San Diego and is open for work in January through April.  In the May/June time frame work is funded at 9N, East Pacific Rise for work.  In July/August there are programs funded for work at Juan de Fuca.

Additional Long Range Planning - The committee discussed the potential of global expeditions after ALVIN’s overhaul in 2001.  Michael Garcia has been funded for work in the mid-Pacific.  This could help in gaining support for other programs in the mid and Western Pacific.  The DESSC suggested advertising in EOS to let people know that there is an opportunity to go to the Western Pacific.  Additionally, Cindy Van Dover has been funded for work in the Indian Ocean.  We should let the community know that the vehicles will be there and there is an opportunity for additional work.  Mike Perfit recommended that Cindy and Mike send him a description of the type of work that they will conduct as well as the vehicles that they plan to use.  An announcement can be sent to the RIDGE and MARGINS community.

International Collaboration Initiatives - Mike Perfit reported that the DESSC Chair has been invited to the MOMAR conference in Lisbon in October 1998 to explain the capabilities of the deep submergence vehicles.  The conference will focus on long-term monitoring at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.  The meeting is being co-chaired by Maya Tolstoy and has a web page.  [Patty Fryer attended the meeting].

Discussion of Traditional Operating Areas vs. Expeditionary Science - The DESSC discussed ways of promoting expeditionary science and how to use ROVs for the global programs.

WHOI Deep Submergence Data Archiving Policy - Brian Tolchoke, WHOI, reviewed the latest revision to the WHOI Archive policy.  The driving motivation for the policy is to insure that data is always available to the science community.  There was considerable discussion on the policy.  There was concern on the commercial use of the data and how much income is being generated by WHOI from the commercial use.  A variety of changes were suggested and forward to Brian by the committee.  Brian agreed to incorporate the changes and recirculate the policy for review.  (The policy was finalized and forwarded to the funding agencies for final approval.  A copy will be available at the December DESSC meeting.)

DESSC Terms of Reference and UNOLS Charter, Annex II - The DESSC reviewed the current terms of reference and Annex II and agreed that an update is needed to better reflect the role of the committee.  They agreed that their role was to serve as the voice of the community.  A subcommittee would be needed to rewrite the terms.  It was generally agreed that the word “advisory” should replace “oversight” as this better defines the role.  The DESSC also recognized that they review schedules instead of proposals as in the past.  Dick Pittenger provided an organizational chart which showed DESSC’s relationship to the operator and agencies.  There was a general comment to replace references to “ALVIN” with “Deep Submergence National Facility.”  Mike Perfit will forward to Annex II changes to Clare Reimers, UNOLS Charter Review Committee Chair.

DESSC Discussion of Integrated Facilities, Nested Survey Strategy:

How to better educate the User Community on Conducting Field Programs with ALVIN, Jason, Argo-II and DSL-120 sonar - A User’s Perspective - Dana Yoerger discussed his recent results from a field program at the Guaymus Basin using Jason.  The program was ONR funded  and exercised the SeaNet Capabilities.  He reviewed some of the results and Simrad data collected.  Dana reported that the cruise was very successful due to pre-cruise planning and test runs.  In his opinion, the DESSC and operator need to do a better job of telling the community what Jason can and cannot do.

AGU Fall Special Session - Mike reported that he and Dan might try to have a session at the Fall AGU meeting to explain what deep submergence tools are available for deep submergence science and how these tools can be best utilized. [Dan Fornari and Dan Scheirer are co-chairing two sessions (oral and poster) at the fall AGU titled, “New  Methods in High Resolution, Near-Bottom Seafloor Mapping and Imaging.  The oral session is scheduled for Sunday afternoon on 6 December and the poster session is planned for Monday morning on 7 December.]

Public Outreach - Jim Bellingham spoke about DESSC’s role in enhancing public outreach and education.  Patty suggested that at the December meeting we set aside time to discuss methods for performing public outreach.  It was suggested that more things could be posted on the UNOLS web site.  Newspaper articles could be included on the website.

Meeting Wrap-Up

The DESSC briefly discussed what they would like to see in the next upgrade proposal.  Additional Homer probes along with a sonar upgrade was recommended.

Mike expressed the committee’s appreciation to Hugh Milburn and Carl Wirsen for their service with the DESSC.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 pm.