Coastal Observations: a Biological Perspective


Image of OASIS

This project is concentrating on developing, testing and deploying a fleet of solar-powered surface autonomous vehicles called Ocean-Atmosphere Sensor Integration System, (OASIS).

OASIS is an autonomous surface vehicle which functions as a platform for operating any number of oceanographic and meteorological instruments. It is powered by solar panels, traditional lead acid batteries, and has an electric motor. It can reach speeds in excess of 3 knots, and is controlled remotely through an Iridium satellite communication link. The applications of this platform can range from oceanographic research by scientists to routine weather observation by the National Weather Service/NOAA.

We are developing several novel field instruments including a multi-spectral in situ fluorometer to support HAB (harmful algal bloom) detection and a robotic arm for controlled pointing of optical instruments to support above-water radiance measurements. Both devices are being developed for incorporation into OASIS platforms. Future optical instruments will be much smaller and cheaper than present day instruments, and we anticipate that these future sensors will be well suited for deployment on OASIS.

The OASIS vehicle has been developed at NASA with both NASA and NOAA support. It has also recently been commercialized through support from NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.