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Marine Computers



6 Fascinating Pieces of Technology Used to Study the Ocean

Over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, while oceans hold nearly 97 of all the planet’s water. We rely on the seas to produce half of our oxygen and absorb most of our carbon dioxide. We also rely on the ocean to grow food, medicine, manage our weather patterns, and conduct trade. For example, the American ocean economy employs three million people and generates $282 billion in goods and services. Despite all this, much of the ocean remains a mystery. That’s why humanity continually looks for ways to study and understand the ocean. Here are some fascinating pieces of technology that help in this process:

1. Marine Computers

Regardless of size, most ships use marine computers to conduct operations. For instance, survey vessels map the ocean’s bottom for oceanography, hydrography, marine biology, salvage recovering, marine archeology, excavating, and more with marine computers. Survey vessels usually use marine laptop computers that are rugged, waterproof, fanless with no moving parts, and thrive in various temperatures thanks to passive cooling solutions. They can also carry sunlight readable LCD touch screens for roofless survey boats that work under the glaring sun. 

Such computers are also customizable and surprisingly powerful. For example, the latest marine computers come with an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor and support dual hot-swap drives and USB 3.0 ports. 

2. High-Frequency Radars (HFR)

HFR is an excellent technology to study the ocean because it’s powerful, cost-effective, and requires little manpower or training. It allows boats to map ocean surface currents and wave fields over vast areas. HFR is also used by search and rescue ships to locate objects floating on the ocean’s surface. Essentially, HFR transmits a signal and uses the return signal to perform its calculations.

3. Buoyage System

A buoy has various traditional uses such as navigation, marking, diving, rescue, mooring, warfare, and more. However, this floating device is also used to study the ocean. For example, the surface buoy logs temperatures, speeds, humidity, and more. Meanwhile, deep-ocean tsunami detection buoys log changes in sea levels to check for tsunami waves generated by underwater earthquakes. 

4. Drifter 

While a drifter looks like a buoy, it’s quite different. This floating oceanographic device studies ocean currents, temperatures, and more through a variety of sophisticated sensors, and is tracked by scientists through satellites.  

5. Sonar

Sonar, or sound navigation ranging, is an age-old technology that allows boats to make and listen for sounds. Passive sonar helps marine biologists track creatures in the ocean, while scientists use sonar to create carts, locate objects and hazards, and map the ocean’s surface. 

6. Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle

Also known as ROV, this unoccupied and tethered underwater mobile device allows people to explore, study, and record objects, deep-sea animals, and plants in the ocean. An ROV usually carries a light, camera, sensors, and several tools. The military also uses ROVs for search, rescue, and mining operations. 

These are only some pieces of technology that scientists use to study the seas. With the right tools, scientists help us understand, utilize, and preserve the ocean.