New Camera Allows Scientists To See Our Ocean Floor Through the Waves!

May 11, 2018 by Lisa Scarpa

NASA Ames scientist Ved Chirayath says, “we know more about the surface of the moon and Mars than we do about our own ocean floor.” NASA has made yet another big discovery and step forward in the discovery and exploration of our fascinating planet. Since our 96.5% of our planet’s water is in the ocean, which covers about 71% of our earth. Fortunately, Chirayath has been developing a camera that can remove the water from our oceans to reveal 3D images of whats below the waves. From a satellite point of view, it’s difficult to see what is on the ocean floor due to the waves on the surface. This project uses both hardware and software to see and map the floors of our vast oceans, as if the water wasn’t there. Thanks to a grant by the Earth Science Technology Office, who has made this all possible for Chirayath and his team.

Due to the fact that we cannot see the ocean floor because of the waves, Chirayath’s technology Fluid Cam,  uses software called Fluid Lensing to image objects in up to 10 meters of water. In order for this powerful work, there is a camera with extremely high processing power. The camera he shows in the video uses a Leica Elmarit-M 28mm F2.8 lens on front of what is described as a ‘high performance’ camera. We are told it uses a 16-core processor and has 1TB of RAM, and that it outputs data at a rate of 550MB per second. As said in the video the data speed could fill up a computer in 200 seconds!

Video Credit: NASA Video Youtube Channel 

Unfortunately, so much data is extremely time consuming and could takes years to sort once the camera is put into place. Luckily, Chirayath’s team is already on it! They are using machine learning to develop and train supercomputers to catalog and sort the data specifically on the attributes of coral reefs.

However, the camera is yet to be used for scientific research. It is still in its test stage and has only been attached to a drone so far. Knowing NASA, they will have this camera up and in use in no time, being able to map and explore much larger parts of the oceans and discover more about our magnificent planet.

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