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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation 1950—2000
Kingdom, Japan) joined JOIDES, each paying a share of project costs as annual "dues." The list of member countries and consortia of countries has fluctuated over the years, but their combined contribution to the drilling program now constitutes roughly 40 percent of the costs. They also contribute significantly to site surveys in preparation for drilling, pay the salaries and travel costs of their nationals, and fund their shipboard scientists for postcruise analysis of samples and data. After IPOD had been in existence for a few years, NSF came to realize that U.S. shipboard scientists were at a competitive disadvantage on funding and set up a system of support through a U.S. Scientific Advisory Committee (USSAC) that also gives grants (through NSF) to support other drilling-related science. Each partner nation is responsible for its own site survey expenditures, and NSF has responded quite generously to U.S. proposals for geophysical surveys in support of drilling.
A breakdown of the $1 billion expended by NSF and its international partners on the various ocean drilling projects, from Mohole to the present day, is shown in Table 1.
DETOUR: THE OCEAN MARGIN DRILLING PROGRAM
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, paced by improvements in seismic reflection systems available in academia, scientific interest in the JOIDES community began to focus very seriously on thickly sedimented continental margins such as the Atlantic margin of North America and the margins of Africa. To reach prime objectives at these places without risk of encountering oil or gas accumulations that could escape to the seafloor, a ship equipped with a riser system was needed (i.e., a system in which the drill pipe is within a surrounding pipe and drilling fluids pumped down the inner, rotating pipe are circulated back to the ship within the annular space between the two pipes). This system allows pressure controls (i.e., drilling muds and shut-off devices). NSF, with support from the Carter Administration, approached representatives of the U.S. oil industry with a suggestion that JOIDES and industry might form a kind of consortium to accomplish scientific drilling on margins, with industry supplying technical expertise, some geophysical survey data, and some financial support.
Industry went along for a time with this new Ocean Margin Drilling (OMD) program to the extent of sending delegates to the OMD scientific planning committee meetings and paying for a set of data synthesis albums. Some participants from industry were from the beginning hesitant not only about the potential costs of the program, but also about the possible presence of an "open-book" program operating in waters of economic interest to the companies. One requirement troublesome to most U.S. academic scientists was that non-U.S. participation was excluded. In 1984, on hearing the final cost estimates and with the Reagan Administration now at the helm, many industrial participants withdrew from the project, which then collapsed. About $16 million had been spent, nearly all on administrative expenses and engineering studies. No steel was cut, no holes were drilled.
During the OMD effort, a search had been made for a suitable drill ship for the riser program. The daily costs for commercial vessels of this class were prohibitively high, and planners then turned to the famous Glomar Explorer, the ship that the Central Intelligence Agency had commissioned to recover the coding device from a Soviet submarine that sank in deep water northwest of the Hawaiian Islands. This recovery effort, thinly disguised as a manganese nodule hunt, in an area where nodules were not very abundant and compositionally of little commercial interest, was successful and the special ship, with its derrick, drawworks with immense lifting power, dynamic positioning, and very large spaces available for laboratories, was in mothballs near San Francisco. NSF, as part of the OMD program, contracted with engineers to draw plans for conversion of this government-owned ship for riser drilling. The cost estimates were huge, in fact unacceptable. The ship remained in mothballs until 1996, when it was at last converted to a deepwater drillship for Chevron and Texaco, at a cost of about $ 160 million.
JOIDES RESOLUTION AND ODP: A NEW SHIP AND A NEW MANAGEMENT
Owing to strong pressures from the scientific community, the DSDP drilling program was kept on course through all the OMD detour. At about this time, a crisis in industry sent daily rates for drill ships plummeting, and an alert NSF moved quickly to hire a particularly suitable ship, the D/V Sedco 471, owned and operated by British Petroleum and Schlumberger, at bargain rates. By November 1983, D/V Glomar Challenger had completed 96 consecutive legs of drilling. The acquisition of the larger and more capable ship coincided with a move of management of the project from the Deep Sea Drilling Project at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) at Texas A&M University. After a hiatus of only 14 months, drilling began again using D/V Sedco 471, known henceforth to the scientific community as JOIDES Resolution, a name not only honoring Cook's eighteenth-century exploring ship, but also resonating with notions of community accord, group determination, and scientific problem solving. Drilling began (ODP Leg 100) in January 1985. We are now (Leg 182) drilling along the Great Australian Bight and the system is performing well, given that budgets are now so tight that some scheduled scientific plans cannot be carried out for lack of proper tools being available on the ship.
SCIENTIFIC MILESTONES: RESULTS THAT CHANGED OUR WAY OF THINKING
In looking back over the past 30 years of scientific ocean drilling, certain milestones mark signal achievements, some