Talk about a deep dive.
From Saturday through Labor Day, wannabe oceanographers eager to experience life underwater can plunge into the briny depths — without getting their feet wet — at Jersey City’s Liberty Science Center.
For an $8 upcharge on top of the museum’s $29.99 adult admission, budding Cousteau-aways and Atten-bros will board a fully interactive life-size replica of OceanXplorer — considered the world’s most advanced research and exploration vessel — for an investigative “journey” that will bring visitors up close and personal with sharks, whales and other sea life.
The real ship, which was built by OceanX, a hedge-fund-backed marine research and filmmaking initiative, will star in the upcoming television docuseries “Mission OceanX.”
Celebrating the sea and deep sea exploration, the series is being produced by OceanX with BBC Studios Natural History Unit and Earthship Productions for National Geographic.
The replica is at the heart of a special exhibit, “OceanXperience,” developed with support from the National Geographic Society. It is scheduled to tour museums around the world over the next seven years. The tri-state area is its first stop.
The 11,000-square-foot space, which mimics the experience of deep sea exploration via sights, sounds and science, was developed by Flying Fish, a respected producer of touring exhibitions.
“Everything that we would experience onboard and visually experience onboard, they’ve built into the exhibit,” Mattie Rodrigue, director of science programs at OceanX, told The Post.
“So, everything from learning about how we dive in the deep sea, how we use and operate remotely operated vehicles, how we collect samples, how we deploy tags on species of whale, how we visualize data, how we look at genetic information in a sample and then sequence that information, how we map whole ecosystems just using sound — these are all things that visitors will be able to [try],” she said.
This means piloting a remote-operated vehicle to scan the ocean floor, or visiting Mission Control to see real data readings. The Wet Lab area contains all the tools necessary to investigate and analysis data collected during the mission. Head to the HoloLab to try on and use HoloLens2 headsets, which were designed to aid collaboration in scientific research.
Visitors can also take in the unique perspective of OceanX’s submersible craft via an immersive projection. The display uses nine separate projections of real OceanX footage and recorded sounds.
If visitors are still looking to engage with and understand the ocean after becoming familiar with the ship, they can conduct one of three guided research missions, either involving orca pod dynamics, humpback whale communication or hammerhead sharks in their tropical habitat.
Rodrigue recommended making the submersibles a must-see item because “you really feel the importance of bringing humans down into the deep sea environment and getting them to experience being down there.”
“The sequencing lab is [also] very cool because the team actually worked with us and with some other researchers to really help convey how you would use DNA to either look at the biodiversity in a sample or in an area or what discovering a new species looks and feels like,” she said.
Rodrigue wants museum goers to feel inspired and realize “the oceans are for everybody and they also need everybody,” when they visit the exhibit.
“I want them to feel part of it. I want them to feel like they belong. I want them to feel like they’re critical to what we all do.”