The CATALYST Program, which commenced on December 4, 2008 from Fort Pierce, Florida, is a series of deep-sea expeditions that will significantly transform undersea exploration and the future of our oceans. The program makes available for the first time a versatile and highly portable deep-sea tool kit and operations team that is rapidly deployable all over the world.
The CATALYST program uses a pair of Hydroid REMUS 6000 AUVs - autonomous underwater vehicles. They are multi-sensor platforms equipped with the latest technology capable of recording critical oceanographic data, photo-imaging deep-sea features, and producing detailed sonar maps of the ocean floor. Through the CATALYST Program's pioneering approach, scientific organizations all over the world will now be able to expand the depths of their research to 6000 meters, or 3.7 miles, below the ocean's surface.
The CATALYST program gathers world-renown scientific organizations to create synergistic collaborations, maximize scientific expertise, and merge institutional resources. It marks an unprecedented collaboration between the Waitt Institute for Discovery and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The Waitt Institute for Discovery commissioned the construction of two REMUS 6000 AUVs and initiated the CATALYST Program and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - WHOI developed and engineered the original REMUS autonomous underwater vehicles. WHOI has an AUV operations team that possesses the expertise to conduct REMUS 6000 expeditions anywhere in the world.
For initial expeditions, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute - Florida Atlantic University brings its ocean exploration expertise and resources to the CATALYST program in the form of expedition logistics and science plan development, as well as through the utilization of Harbor Branch's research vessel R/V Seward Johnson as the first CATALYST AUV launch vessel.
In additional to current partners, a diverse assortment of organizations will contribute additional resources, funding and expertise to future CATALYST expeditions, including university, private, non-profit, and governmental institutions.