URI to offer free tours of Inner Space Center

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Monthly tours of oceanographic research facility begin April 5

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – March 17, 2011 – The University of Rhode Island will offer free monthly tours of the Inner Space Center, the facility that brings real-time oceanographic research to Rhode Island, beginning on April 5.

Tours will be offered on the first Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. Space is limited, so registration is required by calling 401-874-7892 or emailing tmcleish@uri.edu. Tours are limited to the first 20 registrants each month.

The centerpiece of the Ocean Science and Exploration Center on URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus, the Inner Space Center uses a satellite system and Internet2 to make it possible for scientists and students to participate in ocean-going research expeditions without leaving campus.

The facility is the brainchild of Robert Ballard, a URI oceanography professor who is best known for his discovery of the remains of the Titanic and numerous other modern and ancient shipwrecks. Around-the-clock live video of his research expeditions aboard the Ocean Exploration Trust’s ship Nautilus, as well as video from the NOAA vessel Okeanos Explorer and other ships is transmitted to the Inner Space Center when they are at sea, and visitors can watch and listen in on the scientific discoveries they make.

Tours will include a walk through the Inner Space Center, a display of artifacts Ballard has recovered from ancient shipwrecks, viewing of video footage of previous expeditions, and a visit to the facilities where live television and Internet programming about ocean exploration is produced.

For more information about the monthly tours, contact Todd McLeish at tmcleish@uri.edu or 401-874-7892. Groups interested in scheduling tours of the facility at their convenience should contact Maryann Scholl in the Office of Marine Programs at 401-874-6211 or mscholl@gso.uri.edu.