Tour Marine Research Vessel, Meet Scientists at Inner Harbor

This weekend at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, not far from the National Aquarium, the marine research vessel Rachel Carson will be docked and open for tours.

It’s part of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology’s (IMET) free Open House, held this Saturday, May 4, from 1 to 4 p.m. IMET is the unusual building with the white, wave-like roof, located on the east side of the Baltimore harbor, where the Coast Guard Cutter Roger B. Taney is home-ported.

This Saturday, IMET will have hands-on science activities for kids, and scientists ready to show and tell about the important marine research they’re doing at the harbor’s edge.

IMET scientists are doing cutting-edge research to develop drugs for cancer using marine organisms, to make alternative fuel out of Chesapeake Bay algae, and to understand how fish and crabs can be a stable food source.

In addition to learning about those eye-opening projects, visitors can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Aquaculture Research Center, test their shark knowledge with an interactive video game, and learn how to use microscopes and pipettes to sample DNA.

And outside of IMET, take a tour of R/V Rachel Carson, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s (UMCES) 81-foot boat, operating on the Chesapeake in the name of science since 2009.

The research vessel has a dynamic positioning system that allows her to hover over one spot, even in rough seas, and three powerful winches to launch and retrieve buoys and sampling devices. And built-in electronic sensors continuously measure the Bay’s water quality, biology and currents. She has a shallow draft and moves along at a brisk 24 knots.

IMET is a joint University System of Maryland institute, which partners with UMCES, the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB), and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

IMET’s mission is to “conduct research to help protect and restore coastal marine systems and their watersheds and improve human health.”

-Meg Walburn Viviano