Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) Cabled Observatory

A new way of doing oceanography

The Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) allows scientists to perform long-term and real-time experiments 891 meters below the surface of Monterey Bay. The main MARS node (orange box with sloping sides) connects to shore through a 52-km-long power and fiber-optic cable. MARS serves as an engineering, science, and education test bed for even larger regional ocean observatories.

Most oceanographic instruments on the seafloor have no connections with the surface, so they have to run on batteries and store their own data. A cabled observatory like MARS removes those restrictions, allowing scientists to design new types of oceanographic equipment and study the ocean in new ways. MARS provides electrical power and data connections for new research instruments in the deep-sea. That’s the vision behind the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS).

The system consists of a 52-km (32-mile) undersea cable that carries data and power to a “science node” 891 meters (2,923 feet) below the surface of Monterey Bay. More than eight different science experiments can be attached to this main hub with eight nodes. Additional experiments can be daisy-chained to each node. MARS is located at latitude North 36 degrees 42.7481 minutes and longitude West 122 degrees 11.2139 minutes. We invite ocean scientists to consider deploying instruments on the MARS ocean observatory testbed.

Currently on MARS

3D hydrophone

Directional Hydrophone

The Directional Hydrophone enables determination of the direction from which sounds come.


The DEIMOS system works like the “fish finder” used on many recreational fishing boats, but instead of pointing down from the sea surface, it points up from the seafloor.

Ocean Soundscape

Hydrophone records sounds that originate from living organisms, natural processes and human activities.