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NASA Astrobiology: Call for NOAA Ocean Exploration Recommendations

Status Report From: NASA Astrobiology
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Dear Science and Management Community, 

As part of our community-driven exploration model, NOAA Ocean Exploration invites you to submit exploration recommendations for mapping, remotely operated vehicle (ROV), and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) operations for Fiscal Years (FY) 2023 and 2024 on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer off the U.S. West Coast and Alaska.

These expeditions will contribute to the interagency EXpanding Pacific Research and Exploration of Submerged Systems (EXPRESS) and Seascape Alaska campaigns. These regional campaigns and expeditions will also contribute cross-agency objectives highlighted in the National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization (NOMEC) strategy. These multiyear, multiplatform collaborative regional campaigns focus on raising collective knowledge and understanding of U.S. waters. By responding to this call for input with dive targets and mapping requests for NOAA Ocean Exploration to consider in the design of upcoming expeditions, you may be able to contribute to these campaigns and advance your own scientific interests.

In FY23, Okeanos Explorer’s schedule will feature a series of expeditions along the U.S. West Coast from Southern California to Washington in support of EXPRESS. The first is an ROV and mapping expedition off Southern California in October 2022, and the second is an AUV and mapping expedition in partnership with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute off Southern and central California in November 2022. The remainder of the FY23 field season will resume in March 2023 after a regular maintenance period. In May 2023, Okeanos Explorer will transit to Alaskan waters for the first time and will spend three months conducting ROV and mapping operations. 

The schedule for Okeanos Explorer in FY24 has not yet been set. The information received through this call for input will help NOAA Ocean Exploration define operating areas and specific expedition targets.

Please provide your recommendations through NOAA Ocean Exploration’s SeaSketch portal. SeaSketch is a web-based GIS portal that shows our general operating areas, previous surveys, managed areas, and regional maritime boundaries. For help developing and submitting your recommendations, review the instructions for using SeaSketch as well as Okeanos Explorer's operational capabilities (pdf).

Following consideration of all submissions, NOAA Ocean Exploration will design the FY23 and FY24 field seasons to address priorities identified in West Coast and Alaskan waters. General areas of interest will be shared publicly, but details about individual recommendations will not be.

Please note that submission does not guarantee that NOAA Ocean Exploration will be able to act on your recommendations. All recommendations will be balanced with other NOAA Ocean Exploration and community priorities. Recommendations will be distributed across the expedition schedule and will be refined during collaborative planning conference calls. 

NOAA Ocean Exploration encourages anyone who submits recommendations to join expeditions of interest as a member of the shore-based science team

If you need help with your submission, contact Caitlin Adams at caitlin.adams@noaa.gov. If you have specific questions about an expedition, contact Kimberly Galvez, Expedition Manager, at kimberly.galvez@noaa.gov.

We value your input and look forward to your participation in our upcoming expeditions.

Sincerely,

Rachel Medley
Chief, Expeditions and Exploration Division 
NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research

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