MARS node description

Main Components of MARS

MARS consists of a single, trawl resistant node located approximately 900 meters below the sea surface at the end of a 51 km submarine cable. Extension cables allow scientists to place instruments up to 4 km away from the node.
Science Instrument Interface Modules were designed by MBARI to provide easier connection for instruments. These designs are available to MARS users.
Some details on the MARS science node are listed below.

Primary Ports

Instrument Port

Data Port

  • IEEE 802.3 10/100 Base-T using IP protocol.
  • Science Instrument Interface Modules (SIIMS) will provide Ethernet to RS232 or 422 or 485
    conversion for a single item.

Power for Primary Ports: 48 VDC and 375 VDC

  • 10 kW can be apportioned among the primary ports. Actual power available at any port will be negotiated with users and managed by the observatory.
  • Separate returns for 48 and 375 VDC
  • A maximum of 2 kW is available at 48 VDC to all ports.
  • SIIMS provides 48 and 375 VDC to “other,” e.g., 12 VDC levels
  • Individual ports are monitored for over-current and ground faults.


  • NTP time services are provided over the primary data port with an expected accuracy of the order 10s of milliseconds.
  • An additional precision 1 pps clock signal is provided with an accuracy goal of 1 microsecond.

At Sea

Research Vessel Western Flyer
R/V Western Flyer cruise planning
Checklist of Supplies
Cruises outside home port
Data and video: formats and specifics
Departure/arrival times
early departure
Hazardous materials
Precruises and postcruises
ROV dive time definitions
RHIB operations
ROV users checklist
Science party guidelines
Scuba diving
Ship to shore communications
Research Vessel Rachel Carson
R/V Rachel Carson cruise planning
Research Vessel Paragon
Emergencies and contacts
Onboard documents and logs
Policies and operating guidelines
Marine operations policies
Departure/arrival times
Early departure
Elevator payload limits
Equipment design guidelines
Hazardous materials
Homer beacon policies
Lab use and chemical safety
NILSPIN ™ oceanographic ropes
Push core policies and description
RHIB operations
Rigging policy
Science party size
Cruise planning
Marine operations policies
Remotely operated vehicles
ROV Ventana
ROV Doc Ricketts
Mini remotely operated vehicle (ROV)
Autonomous underwater vehicles
Gulper autonomous underwater vehicle
Seafloor mapping AUV
Long-range autonomous underwater vehicle Tethys
Investigations of imaging for midwater autonomous platforms
Benthic Rover
Autonomous surface vehicles
Wave Glider
Wave Glider-based communications hotspot
2020 Expeditions
2019 Expeditions
2018 Expeditions
2017 Expeditions
2016 Expeditions
2015 Expeditions
2014 Expeditions
2013 Expeditions
2012 Expeditions
Cabled observatory
About MARS
MARS contacts
MARS science experiments
Ocean Soundscape
Soundscape Listening Room
MARS hydrophone data
How to connect to MARS
MARS contacts
How to interface
MARS site description
MARS instrument deployment
MARS biology
MARS technology
MARS connector wiring
MARS node description
More ocean observatory resources
Local notice to mariners
Mooring data
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Administration & planning
Marine operations technicians