By Michelle Gess and Chris Doorn
Before JASON began it's ascent with two hundred pounds of rock samples, an opportunity arose for two of the scientists to drive JASON around the sea floor. Michelle and Chris were a little apprehensive due to the potential risk of harming the expensive equipment. The control box connected to JASON was older than the scientists who were about to drive JASON. It looked like an old video game controller from the 1980s but a lot more clunky. In fact, some of the controls for cameras XBOX controllers are used.
The controls of JASON are located in what we call the "van". Inside the van there are 3 professionals in charge of monitoring and piloting JASON and 3 scientists. Among the professionals there is a navigator, pilot, and engineer. The navigator is in charge of monitoring the location of Medea and Jason in the water and directs the small movements of the ship. The pilot has the task of controlling JASON which entails moving JASON around the bottom of the ocean and moving the robotic arms. The engineer is in charge of monitoring the distance between Medea and JASON plus controlling some hydraulic commands on JASON.
There are also 3 positions in the van reserved for the scientists. The Science lead is in charge of telling the navigator and pilot where to move and potential places to collect rock samples. There is an event logger who records events throughout the dive, including th collection of each sample, and monitoring sea creatures which come into view. The third scientist is in charge of recording a highlight video stream and capturing images of biology, unique rock outcrops, or other interesting parts of the dive. Both the professionals and the scientists are on 4 hour rotating shifts of working in the van, so that Jason is operating 24 hours during dives.