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Jean-Louis Etienne
Monday March 19 2012
POLAR POD, a new generation of oceanographic vessels

The second week of March, Marc Magaud, Environment and Sustainable Development Attaché at the French Embassy in Washington, arranged for me to meet with some major U.S. administrations leaders (NSF, NASA), as well as some influential foundations in the field of life sciences and the environment, and also with National Geographic Magazine. It was a very constructive week ; everybody, within their own area of expertise, expressed an interest in taking this unique opportunity, thanks to POLAR POD, of gathering data throughout the year on the Southern Ocean. This is a new maritime challenge since research vessels stay there only a few weeks in summer. 

During a meeting at the Polar Programs Department at the NSF, very interesting prospects for the POLAR POD were discussed. There is a need for remote stable platforms to provide electrical power to scientific sensors and broadband communications. The POLAR POD has the ability to launch, retrieve, and communicate with multiple autonomous remote vehicles (AUV, Drone, Gliders). In this context, it might be used as an offshore hub. It represents a new generation of oceanographic vessels, more economical and more environmentally friendly than traditional ones.

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