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USS Macon Expedition

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Mission Log: Sept. 19, 2006

by Noah Doughty, NOAA Teacher at Sea

Today the photomosaic team from Stanford University, Dr. Steve Rock and Ph.D. student Kristof Richmond, stepped up to direct underwater operations.

Mission Weather Report
Visibility: Poor
Wind direction: Variable
from the northwest
Wind speed: Light airs
Sea wave height: 3-5’
Seawater temp: 56.1o F
Sea level pressure: 1022 millibars
Cloud cover: 7/8
Currently there are two known debris fields. The larger field contains the Curtiss F9C-2 Sparrowhawk airplanes, five of the eight Maybach Engines and remnants of the galley. The second debris field contains the bow end of the Macon with identifiable artifacts from the officer’s quarters and the mooring mast receptacle. A third debris field, containing the tail section, is speculated to exist but has never been found. In spite of some challenges we managed to mosaic both of the known fields.

photomosaic team
The photo-mosaic team: Dr. Steve Rock (left) and Ph.D student Kristof Richmond (right), from Stanford University
The photomosaic will be created using a control system designed by the Stanford team to pilot the Tiburon along a series of parallel transect lines, a pattern playfully called “mowing the lawn”. As the ROV travels above the seafloor along its transect line, a High Definition camera periodically captures images that are assembled to create the photomosaic. Due to the low light and at times murky conditions, the camera can’t be more than a few meters off the sea floor. Imagine trying to create a picture of your local soccer or football field by walking the entire field holding a camera at arm’s length facing straight down.

Tomorrow we will continue the photomosaic efforts.

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