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Indian Ocean exploration mission makes cutting-edge wireless broadcast

Updated March 13, 2019

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AN image taken from video shows a submersible from a ship during a descent into the Indian Ocean near Seychelles on Tuesday. —AP
AN image taken from video shows a submersible from a ship during a descent into the Indian Ocean near Seychelles on Tuesday. —AP

ALPHONSE ISLAND: A British-led scientific mission to document changes taking place beneath the Indian Ocean has broadcast its first live, television-quality video transmission from a two-person submersible.

Monsoon storms and fierce underwater currents continued to present a challenge at greater depths as scientific work began in earnest on Tuesday off the Seychelles.

This news agency has successfully broadcast the first multi-camera live signal in full broadcast quality from manned submersibles using optical video transmission techniques, in which the pictures transmit through the waves using the blue region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Previous real-time video transmissions from the world’s deep oceans were livestreams sent from remotely operated unmanned subsea vehicles, with the video moving via fixed fibre optic cable.

The first transmission came from 60 metres down. Previous deep-sea livestreams cataloguing the world’s oceans have been via fibre-optic cable. The new broadcast uses cutting-edge wireless technology, sending video optically through the waves.

This news agency is the only news agency working with British scientists from the Nekton research team on its deep-sea mission that aims to unlock the secrets of the Indian Ocean, one of the world’s least explored areas.

The multi-national team of scientists is gathering data to help policy-makers frame protection and conservation measures.

Nekton Mission director Oliver Steeds said the experience battling the waves underlines the need to expand scientific knowledge of the waters off the island nation, which the team is there to do.

“The problem is, when it comes to this place, when it came to the currents, the last current data that was gathered before we came here was in 1882,” he said. “It’s part of the challenge. This is exploration.”

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2019