Argonautica, altimetry from kintergarten to engineering school

Danielle De Staerke (CNES, France)


Vinca Rosmorduc (CLS, France)

Event: 2020 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting (virtual)

Session: Outreach, Education and Altimetric Data Services

Presentation type: Type Forum

Since Fall 2000, the French Space Agency, Cnes, has proposed to teachers and their classes, mostly at primary and secondary school levels (but not only), to monitor marine animals and buoys using Argos location system. This STEM educational project is called "Argonautica", joining both Argos and Jason (and his Argonauts) in its name. It aims to help pupils understand the ocean, its relation to environmental change and the effects on the living world. It also shows them what roles satellites can have in monitoring and understanding these resources. Students and teachers can thus undertake a real scientific investigation with hypothesis, ways to check on them, and analysis of results, with help from scientific partners. It has three different sub-projects, with joint resources for the first two.
With "ArgOcean", students can compare the buoys' tracks with ocean data – from satellites such as the Jason altimeters and others, or from an ocean circulation model. Moreover, classes can build their own buoy, from designing the shell to integrating the electronics or even designing new instruments to measure storms or plastic in the ocean.
ArgoNimaux is the most popular for the youngest, who can choose to track a marine animal week by week, in collaboration with researchers, and also compare their tracks with ocean data. They can see the impact of the ocean variations on marine animals, and learn more about the animals' behaviour, their migrations, foraging trips, etc.
And with the newest branch, ArgoHydro, students can measure in situ data (precipitation, soil moisture, lake and river levels) and correlate them with satellite data (Precipitation, Soil Moisture, water level,…). There also they can design their own buoy, or instrument(s) onboard UAVs, with the added value that they can do the measurements close to their school. ArgoHydro is designed to complement the international Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program. This activity is also held in the frame of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (Swot) satellite, developed by Nasa and Cnes.
Material is available in French, but also in English for the main information on the project and on the data.
The presentation will show updates and new activities for 2020-2021, with an ArgoHydro interface, a new concept of buoy for the ArgoTechno projects, and the focus operation of the year, the Vendée Globe round-the-world alone sail race, with some skippers sending the buoys at pre-defined points.
Danielle De Staerke