OAKLAND (KTVU) -- A world famous undersea explorer has brought his ship and crew to the Bay Area to show you things no one has ever seen before, images captured right off the Bay Area coast.
For the next nine days, the Nautilus crew will explore the Farralones Marine Sanctuary just off the San Francisco Bay Area coast.
"We protect the ship wrecks as our maritime heritage; as a symbol of our past, of our nation's history and the lives that were lost on the ships," says Maria Brown, Superintendent of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary. Nautilus is a unique ship.
>>>>>LINK: Nautilus Live
"Its mission is to go where no one has gone before on planet Earth," says Robert Ballard, who heads Nautilus and is the legendary ocean explorer who found the Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck.
He says this is a modern day version of the Lewis and Clark expedition, which he calls the "Lois and Clark Expedition" over half the crew is female. "We're literally going to a place no one has ever been. We're going to deep water," Ballard said.
He said researchers have more information and better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of the ocean floor just off San Francisco. "And so, we're going into habitats people have never really explored and we always make discoveries so tune in," he said.
One of the things Nautilus will explore is the hulk of the USS Independence, a World War II aircraft carrier that sat through atomic bomb tests in Bikini Atoll.
It was brought to San Francisco and deliberately sunk off the coast 65 years ago. Two remote controlled deep sea vehicles will descend, photograph and document that and other things. One of the remotes, named Hercules, found the Titanic.
But Ballard said the other vessel, named Nautilus, always finds the unexpected.
"We go there expecting A and finding B and in many cases, B is more interesting," Ballard said. "We're very likely to find new ship wrecks, new artifacts and new species that no one has ever seen before," adds Farallones Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Maria Brown.
Everything Nautilus does and finds is live streamed to the web by satellite around the clock.
"And, we have people telling us what we've found within minutes of finding it," Ballard said. "Anyone can now participate in our expeditions and do all the time."
This is pure research, much of it sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the good of humankind. "We're not trying to commercialize anything. Our job is to explore the 50 percent of the United States that lays undiscovered," concludes Ballard.
By KTVU reporter Tom Vacar.