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Nanaimo Port Authority to assist Team from NASA while in Nanaimo

Apr 10, 2014

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Nanaimo Port Authority to assist Team from NASA while in Nanaimo

“We are very pleased to be a partner with this project, a scientific study that teams our Nanaimo Port Authority’s marine assets with NASA and Seamore Marine Ltd., a cutting-edge local business.” states Bernie Dumas, President & CEO – Nanaimo Port Authority.

“Seamor Marine’s ROV, which we used since 2008, is ‘Top of the Line’. We are not surprised that Seamore Marine was chosen by NASA for this procedure. Our Harbour Patrol staff looks forward to assisting with this project April 14-16.”

Team from NASA will pay a visit to Nanaimo

Article by Robert Barron Nanaimo Daily News April 8, 2014

A small robotics company in Nanaimo will play a part in the ongoing search by the North American Space Agency for life on Mars and elsewhere in the universe.

A team from NASA will be in the city in mid-April to learn how to operate some of Seamor Marine Ltd.'s line of small and remotely operated underwater vehicles as part of the agency's Pavilion Lake research project that is taking place in the B.C. Interior.

The research project is an international, multi-disciplinary, science and exploration effort to explain the origin of freshwater microbialites in Pavilion Lake and adjacent Kelly's Lake. Fossil microbialites represent some of the earliest remnants of life on Earth, and were common from approximately 2.5 billion to 540 million years ago.

Terry Knight, a spokesman for Seamor Marine, said NASA scientists want to study the microbialites as part of the ongoing search for life on Mars, in our solar system and beyond. He said the fact that the microbialites exist in the almost weightlessness of a water environment on Earth which resembles the low-gravity atmosphere that exists on Mars means it's an ideal opportunity for Seamor Marine to bring its ROV capabilities into play.

From these real-field science activities, NASA scientists are also learning about what it takes to conduct safe, productive and discovery-based science in extreme environments.

Knight said NASA scientists intend to attach their own sensory and tracking devices to one of the company's ROVs, and will conduct sea trials in Nanaimo harbour for up to two days before the equipment is sent to Pavilion Lake in preparation for this year's research, which is scheduled to begin in June.

Knight said the company's contacts with NASA and its scientists over the years in a variety of other projects was one of the major factors that led to Seamor and its ROVs being chosen to participate in the project. He said the labour and the equipment for the project will be donated by Seamor. Knight said from the company's head office on Northfield Road Monday that the company sees the chance to work with NASA as a "great opportunity for us to get our name out there."

"We're just a small company at this stage, but we're working in a broad international and competitive marketplace and working with NASA will certainly help us," he said.

"Special thanks to the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation and the Nanaimo Port Authority for their help in setting up the sea trials in the harbour and seeing that will be provided a patrol vessel to assist in the tests. We'll continue to try and collaborate with NASA on the project in any way we can and we're hoping for future collaborations with the agency in the future."

RBarron(at) 250-729-4234 © Nanaimo Daily News

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