Developing Ocean Awareness: The Argonautica Educational Project
Danielle de Staerke(1) and Annie Richardson(2)
18 Avenue Edouard Belin,
Toulouse, Cédex 9, 31401,
(2) NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 264-331, Pasadena, CA 91109, United States
Everyone is familiar with weather and with the features that describe it, like cloudy with a chance of rain, sunny and hot, or windy and cool, and that weather conditions form in the atmosphere. Most people know the relationship between weather and climate, and practically everyone has heard about global warming and global climate change. But who knows that it is the interaction of the oceans and atmosphere that drives weather patterns and controls climate change? And who knows that since the first oceanographic satellite was launched, our knowledge of the oceans has vastly improved?
Argonautica is an ongoing educational project whose objective is to show how satellites are helping to improve our knowledge of the oceans and protect the marine environment. The project involves students at the primary, middle and high school levels and includes lectures, communication, and hands-on activities.
Students are able to use real time satellite data to track buoys drifting in the major ocean currents and to view and analyse the world’s great animal migrations. The project also makes it possible for students to communicate with scientists and engineers through a worldwide network.
The 2005-2006 Argonautica operation is organized in conjunction with the Jason-1 calivation/validation experiment in the Drake Passage. During the operation, two ships: the Polarstern, a research vessel; and a boat tracing the journey of the first Antarctic expedition will be relied upon for support. Student-built buoys will be released from the ships during their journeys. Both boats will sail beneath the Jason-1 satellite track and students will have the opportunity to process data from the buoys and correlate the information with Jason-1 data.
Argonautica, initialized by CNES five years ago, is now part of the collaboration with NASA/JPL and is one of the activities being conducted in support of NASA/CNES ocean surface topography missions education and public outreach.