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Midway Mission Data

The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer left port in Hawaii February 24, 2016 to start their field season exploring waters of the Hawaiian Islands, using their Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Deep Discoverer, or D2. ROV D2 will be diving between 250 – 6,000 meters.

Mission telepresence participants are located at the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. The mission is also being broadcast live.

MID-III is the third mission to Midway to discover the Japanese fleet. Missions I and II are documented in the book, Search for the Japanese Fleet: USS Nautilus at the Battle of Midway by David Jourdan.

The objectives of MID-III are to build a bottom bathymetric map around the assumed sinking positions of the three ships, Kaga, Akagi and Sōryū. Knowledge of the bathymetry around the sites where the hulls lie will be extremely helpful in later missions. Secondarily, sonar contacts that were acquired during missions I and II will be imaged, many for the first time. These sonar contacts are expected to yield new discoveries.

Thousands of hours have been invested in research and analysis of Midway by two leading experts in Japanese naval architecture and history, Mr. Jon Parshall and Mr. Anthony Tully. This mission borrows heavily on their work so that MID-III participants new to this project can understand the historical events that drive the methodology for discovery.

2016 Midway Mission Videos and Images

The vessel Okeanos Explorer is due to reach the Midway battle site on March 6th. In the meanwhile, the team is exploring the Northwest Hawaiian Island Marine Sanctuary, collecting geographic mapping data during the night and conducting ROV dives during the day with D2. Images and video from the expedition will be found here as they are collected.

Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi
The project area to be explored within and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (white boundary) with possible dive sites. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, created from a synthesis of existing multibeam mapping data by Dr. John R. Smith of the University of Hawaii. ...
View Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi
Necker Ridge
D2 cameras image an unusual octopus during the first ROV dive on Necker Ridge, 27 February 2016 ...
View Necker Ridge
Necker Ridge
D2 collects a rock sample. ...
View Necker Ridge
Necker Ridge
The command center on board the Okeanos Explorer. ROV pilots operate D2 and Seirios and their lights, cameras, and other equipment from these stations. ...
View Necker Ridge
French Frigate Shoals
D2 gathers a rock sample using its robot arms. ...
View French Frigate Shoals
French Frigate Shoals
D2 as viewed from Seirios while collecting rock samples. ...
View French Frigate Shoals

 

1999 Midway Mission Videos and Interviews

In September, 1999 the research vessel USNS Sumner visited the newly discovered site of wreckage of the Japanese aircraft carrier Kaga based on sonar images collected in May of that year. During the expedition, the ROV TOSS (Towed Optical Search System) collected video images of the wreckage as seen in this collection. Also included are interviews discussion the mission history and analysis, some of which were used in the documentary The Search for the Japanese Fleet, which aired on the Discovery Channel in 2000.

Midway Underwater Selects Part 1 Midway Underwater Selects Part 1

Midway Underwater Selects Part 1

This clip shows video imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is a section of hull fr ...

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Midway Underwater Selects Part 1
Midway Underwater Selects Part 1
Midway Underwater Selects Part 2 Midway Underwater Selects Part 2

Midway Underwater Selects Part 2

This clip shows a montage of video imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. Pieces of debris large a ...

Watch
Midway Underwater Selects Part 2
Midway Underwater Selects Part 2
Interview – The USS Nautilus Interview – The USS Nautilus

Interview - The USS Nautilus

Dave Jourdan describes how Nauticos used data from the USS Nautilus to help locate wreckage from Kaga. ...

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Interview – The USS Nautilus
Interview – The USS Nautilus
Interview – Renav Explained Interview – Renav Explained

Interview - Renav Explained

Dave Jourdan describes how the Renav (Re-navigation) system can be used to locate underwater targets. ...

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Interview – Renav Explained
Interview – Renav Explained
Interview – Nautilus and Renav Interview – Nautilus and Renav

Interview - Nautilus and Renav

Dave Jourdan explains why Nautilus was a good source of information for the Battle of Midway analysis. ...

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Interview – Nautilus and Renav
Interview – Nautilus and Renav
Interview – Midway Search Interview – Midway Search

Interview - Midway Search

Dave Jourdan describes use of historical records to reconstruct past battles to help the search process. The plan used in 1999 is discussed, includin ...

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Interview – Midway Search
Interview – Midway Search

 

1999 Midway Mission Still Camera Images

The following collection of images were collected in September, 1999 by an electronic still camera (ESC) operating on the TOSS (Towed Optical Search System) during a joint expedition by the Naval Oceanographic Office and Nauticos to the site of the 1942 Battle of Midway. These images are of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. A major artifact is a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. The piece is about 40 feet long and 30 feet high, lying inverted on the seafloor. The cameras view the object from above, looking down into the underside of the inverted gun tubs. The edges of the artifact are strewn with anemones. This piece included a landing light array that was unique to Kaga. Other pieces of debris large and small litter the bottom including: interior hull plating, probably from the hangar decks; storage boxes, probably from one of the upper antiaircraft galleries. Ammunition is scattered about. A bucket lies near an antenna or radar screen. Individual images are further described.

IJN Kaga on the Seafloor
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. Twisted and torn cables, a box of equipment, a bucket, and a deformed part of the ship’s structure are seen here. Nauticos.   ...
View IJN Kaga on the Seafloor
Wreckage Source
This graphic shows the location of a major section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Courtesy Jon Parshall.   ...
View Wreckage Source
Wreckage Mosaic
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. A mosaic of images of a major section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Nauticos.   ...
View Wreckage Mosaic
Wreckage Drawing
This graphic by Jeff Morris shows a major section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Courtesy Nauticos and Jeff Morris.   ...
View Wreckage Drawing
Deep Sea Worm Trail
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. A deep sea worm left a trail as it gathered sustenance from the muddy bottom, evidence of life at extreme depths. In contrast, the Japanese sailor’s boot, preserved for nearly seventy years, was evidence of the loss of life in battle. The seafloor was thickly sprinkled with nodules of pure manganese. Nauticos.   ...
View Deep Sea Worm Trail
Sea Worm Trail — annotated
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. A deep sea worm left a trail as it gathered sustenance from the muddy bottom, evidence of life at extreme depths. In contrast, the Japanese sailor’s boot, preserved for nearly seventy years, was evidence of the loss of life in battle. The seafloor was thickly sprinkled with nodules of pure manganese. Approximate scale indicated. Nauticos.   ...
View Sea Worm Trail — annotated
Interior of a Section of Hull
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the interior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. A ladder that probably led between decks can be seen. A small fish is revealed in the upper left. Nauticos.   ...
View Interior of a Section of Hull
Exterior of a Section of Hull
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Two curved gallery sponsons can be seen lying inverted on the bottom with their support structures clearly visible. Nauticos.   ...
View Exterior of a Section of Hull
Landing Light Array
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Two curved gallery sponsons can be seen lying inverted on the bottom, and a landing light array can be seen protruding from the lower sponson. Nauticos.   ...
View Landing Light Array
Deep Sea Creatures
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact shows a a landing light array can be seen protruding from the side of the hull. This feature was unique to Kaga and helped identify the wreckage. Deep sea creatures can be seen on the ocean floor. Nauticos.   ...
View Deep Sea Creatures
Box-like Structure
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. A large box-like structure with compartments lies twisted on the bottom among deep sea worm trails. Nauticos.   ...
View Box-like Structure
Scattered Debris
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. Scattered debris on the bottom. Nauticos. ...
View Scattered Debris
Sea Anemones and Ladders
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the interior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. A ladder that probably led between decks can be seen. Sea anemones thrive on the wreckage. Nauticos. ...
View Sea Anemones and Ladders
Sea Anemones
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. Sea anemones are seen in profusion. Nauticos. ...
View Sea Anemones
Interior Starboard Side
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the interior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. A ladder that probably led between decks can be seen. Nauticos. ...
View Interior Starboard Side
Curved Gallery Sponson
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. A curved gallery sponson can be seen lying inverted on the bottom with its support structures clearly visible. Nauticos. ...
View Curved Gallery Sponson
Exterior of a Section of Hull
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Nauticos. ...
View Exterior of a Section of Hull
Exterior of a Section of Hull
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Nauticos. ...
View Exterior of a Section of Hull
Curved Gallery Sponson
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. A curved gallery sponson can be seen lying inverted on the bottom with its support structures clearly visible. Nauticos. ...
View Curved Gallery Sponson
Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Two curved gallery sponsons can be seen lying inverted on the bottom. Nauticos. ...
View Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Two curved gallery sponsons can be seen lying inverted on the bottom. Nauticos. ...
View Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Two curved gallery sponsons can be seen lying inverted on the bottom. Nauticos. ...
View Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Row of Portholes
Row of Portholes Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. A row of portholes can be seen along the near edge of the inverted artifact, lined with anemones. Nauticos. ...
View Row of Portholes
Deformed Part of the Ship’s Structure
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. A deformed part of the ship’s structure and other debris are seen here. Nauticos. ...
View Deformed Part of the Ship’s Structure
Inverted Gallery Sponson
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. A curved gallery sponson can be seen lying inverted on the bottom with its support structures clearly visible. Nauticos. ...
View Inverted Gallery Sponson
Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Two curved gallery sponsons can be seen lying inverted on the bottom. Nauticos. ...
View Two Curved Gallery Sponsons
Two Curved Gallery Sponsons — annotated
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. This artifact is the exterior of a section of hull from the starboard side of the ship that held a pair of 25mm antiaircraft gun galleries. Two curved gallery sponsons can be seen lying inverted on the bottom. Image 458 with approximate scale indicated. Nauticos. ...
View Two Curved Gallery Sponsons — annotated
Ship’s Bell
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. In this scene, a small object, possibly a ship’s bell from a launch or other small boat, rested quietly among rocks and scattered debris. Nauticos. ...
View Ship’s Bell
Wreckage
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. Pieces of wreckage, large and small, were scattered in profusion around the area. Nauticos. ...
View Wreckage
Twisted and Torn Cables
Still imagery of wreckage of Japanese aircraft carrier IJN Kaga on the seafloor at 17,000 feet. Twisted and torn cables, a box of equipment, a bucket, and a deformed part of the ship’s structure are seen here. Nauticos. ...
View Twisted and Torn Cables