The MARS Ocean Observatory Testbed

A new way of doing oceanography

Most oceanographic instruments on the seafloor have no connections with the surface, so they have to run on batteries and store their own data. A cabled observatory like MARS removes those restrictions, allowing scientists to design new types of oceanographic equipment and study the ocean in new ways. Providing electrical power and data connections for new research instruments in the deep-sea. That's the vision behind the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS).

The system consists of a 52-km (32-mile) undersea cable that carries data and power to a "science node" 891 meters (2,923 feet) below the surface of Monterey Bay. More than eight different science experiments can be attached to this main hub with eight nodes. Additional experiments can be daisy-chained to each node. MARS is located at latitude North 36 degrees 42.7481 minutes and longitude West 122 degrees 11.2139 minutes. We invite ocean scientists to consider deploying instruments on the MARS ocean observatory testbed.

The MARS node sits on Smooth Ridge, just outside Monterey Bay.
The MARS observatory "science node" (shown in orange) has eight ports, each of which can supply data and power connections for a variety of scientific instruments. Scientists have constant access to their experiments through the seafloor cable.

Current MARS Science Experiments

seafloor seismometer
MOBB seafloor seismometer


hydrophone thumbnail
Hydrophone for passive acoustic monitoring


Other MARS Experiments

Support for MARS is provided by the National Science Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

For additional information, contact MARS Operations and Maintenance.

Last updated: Aug. 20, 2015