Kate Ramsayer visits a research ship
Before I started writing about scientific discoveries, I worked at various times in research labs. But I've never seen a place quite like the JOIDES Resolution.
Kate Ramsayer stands in front of the JOIDES Resolution, which is docked at Astoria, Ore.
The labs, conference rooms, sleeping quarters, offices, and lounges are arranged on seven floors. As I toured the ship with other journalists and a few land-based scientists, I found myself going up and down different staircases and weaving through windowless rooms. I often had no idea which floor I was on or in what direction I was facing. I quickly realized that, if I had to work on this mazelike vessel, it would take me a while to find my way around.
During the tour, I also started wondering if I would enjoy working in this kind of environment. All the scientists who had been on similar trips mentioned the constant noise of the drilling equipment, which might make it hard to sleep or concentrate on experiments. And while the large size of the ship makes it relatively steady in the ocean waves, it could still be a miserable 50 or more days for anyone who happened to get seasick easily. Plus, I'd miss my family and friends if I were away for such a long time.
Still, if I were a geologist or a microbiologist or a chemist, such an expedition would be worth the discomfort. The scientists on the journey have an amazing opportunity to study areas of Earth that have never been looked at before.
It would be exciting to examine a piece of a core that was hundreds of feet below the seafloor just minutes before and try to figure out what it tells us about Earth's past. It would also be fun to meet other scientists from around the world who are excited about investigating a wide range of questions about the rocks and critters beneath the ocean.
While the living conditions on the ship might be tough, and working 12 hours a day for almost 2 months straight might get exhausting, I think that conducting experiments on board this research vessel would be an opportunity that I couldn't pass up.K. Ramsayer