Tuesday, April 19, 2016

To the Bottom of the Ocean - NASA's Other 1969 Mission of Discovery

Instruments mounted on the Grumman/Piccard PX-15. The Ben Franklin

The Atlantic Monthly posted this very interesting feature concerning NASA’s other great mission of discovery, the forgotten mission of the Ben Franklin to explore the Earth’s last great frontier – the ocean and the mighty Gulf Stream.

"Timing is everything. In the summer of 1969, within one day of each other, two courageous crews set out to explore new frontiers. Both were NASA missions of pure discovery. One would go to the Sea of Tranquility, the other to the massive eastern boundary current known as the Gulf Stream. "

The Ben Franklin (PX-15)

While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the moon, a team of NASA aquanauts, led by Jacques Piccard, spent 30 days in a submarine, drifting along the Gulf Stream for 1,444 miles. This short documentary celebrates the Ben Franklin mission's legacy of oceanic research.

Route of the Ben Franklin/PX-15

The Ben Franklin mission has been forgotten by time, overshadowed by the concurrent Apollo 11 mission. However, the scientific findings obtained by six aquanauts have provided a foundation for understanding the Gulf Stream and ocean currents. This web short was produced as an educational tie-in with the Science on a Sphere feature LOOP.

Meanwhile, at the Bottom of the Ocean ... 

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