Polar Science & Technology Program
Polar Science is an integrated sub-discipline of Earth Science that is of growing interest to the scientific research community and the U. S. Navy. Consequently there is a need to enhance education and experience in Polar Science for the next generation of scientists, engineers, and future Naval Officers who may have to operate in the Polar region in the future. Through support from the Office of Naval Research Code 32 (ONR 32) Arctic & Global Prediction Program, the Oceanography Department at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) has established a multi-disciplinary, undergraduate, field research-based Polar Science and Technology (S&T) program (USNA-PS&TP). The goals of USNA-PS&TP are to: 1) Develop faculty-led undergraduate Midshipmen research and engineering Capstone projects targeted towards specific S&T objectives/needs of the U.S. Navy; 2) Enhance course development and materials for Midshipman education in Polar Science; and 3) Provide a faculty and Midshipman S&T work force with experience in conducting research in Polar environments for collaboration and partnership with the Naval Research Enterprise (NRE) and the greater Polar S&T community on field-oriented S&T projects.
Within the PSP there is an Arctic Buoy Program (ABP) student research component that will include the design, build, testing and deployment of Arctic Buoys. Establishing an active, field-research program in Polar Science will greatly enhance Midshipman education and research, as well as introduce future Naval Officers to the Arctic environment.
The Oceanography Department has engaged the USNA Ocean Engineering, Systems Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Computer Science Departments and developed a USNA Arctic buoy, IceGoat1, which was designed, built, and deployed by midshipmen. The experience gained through Polar field studies and data derived from these buoys will be used to enhance course materials and laboratories for Midshipman education, and will also be used directly in Midshipman independent research projects.