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Lab Features & Facilities

Laboratories and science spaces in general are configured to allow efficient installation of scientific equipment with a minimum of effort. Benches, shelving, electrical power, water, communications, tie-downs and storage are provided. A general description of these items follows.


Electrical Power

Inside the labs 120VAC and 240VAC outlets are plentiful. On deck a limited number of 480VAC plugs are availble. Any science team that desires to use the external 480VAC plugs should contact WHOI in advance to coordinate power needs, since these plugs are also used for portable deck cranes, etc. Up to 600kw of non-propulsion power is available. All power on the ship is generated as 600VAC which is required for the main propulsion motors. A ship’s UPS carries vital loads, including the ship’s data system. Several smaller UPS’s are available for use in various labs to protect science team equipment from power losses.

Electrical power is distributed throughout the ship as:

  • 480VAC, 60 cycle, 50 amp circuits
  • 120VAC, 60 cycle, 20 amp circuits
  • 120VAC, 60 cycle, 15 amp circuits

Experience has shown ship’s power to be stable and reliable. However, all ship’s service power has the potential of being contaminated by transients associated with running machinery and spiking introduced by SCR firings from the main propulsion motors. Scientific instrumentation which is sensitive to transients should be operated off the “clean” power bus. Clean power is 120VAC generated by an M-G set to isolate the circuit from sources of electrical transients. A maximum of 30kw is available. Clean power is available in all laboratory spaces in plug strips clearly marked as such.

Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) units are provided in laboratory spaces. All units operate from regulated 120VAC power supplies.


Air Conditioning/Heating

All internal spaces on Atlantis are temperature controlled by a centralized air conditioning and heating system.


Fresh Water

All scientific laboratories (except the Electronics/Computer Lab) and deck areas are provided with hot and cold fresh water. Faucets are located at sinks in the lab spaces. On deck, either faucets or standpipes are mounted on bulkheads or overheads in areas readily accessible to portable laboratory vans or work sites.


Salt Water

Sea water from the ship’s fire and sanitary system is available in the Main Lab, the Wet Lab, Hydro Lab, and Bio/Analytical Lab. In the laboratories, the faucet is adjacent to sinks.


Uncontaminated Sea Water

Available in the Main, Bio/Analytical, Hydro and Wet Labs. The intake is located in the bow (as far forward and as deep as possible). The pump, its impeller and all piping are PVC lined. Flow rate is 50 gallons per minute. Dual filters to screen out debris and seaweed are located at the pump suction. High sea states and bubble entrapment at the bow can cause the discharge to become aerated. Though a vent is provided in the system, a debubbler is recommended for instruments sensitive to entrapped gases. The system continuously discharges overboard. Seawater temperature and conductivity probes are permanently mounted at the pump suction and are tied to the ships data system.


Deionized Water

A Millipore Milli-Q+ distilled water deionizer unit is located in the aft end of the Hydro Laboratory. The water source for the deionizing filter unit is a 30-gallon stainless steel head tank located on the 01 Level. This tank is periodically filled with water obtained from the ship’s distillation plant.


Compressed Air

Available in all deck and laboratory spaces at nominal 90 psi.



Laboratory benches are provided in all laboratories. Most benches are a standard 8 feet long x 32 inches wide x 36 inches high. The tops are provided with lips and tie-down devices for securing equipment. Most benches are fitted with a full storage shelf below. All benches are portable, capable of being rearranged as needed to meet individual project space configurations. Book shelves are also provided in all lab spaces.



All laboratory and deck spaces are provided with means for securing equipment at sea, known collectively as tie-downs. Laboratory decks are fitted with 3/8" bolt receptors locator on 2' x 2' centers. All overhead and bulkhead surfaces are equipped with "UniStrut" channels on 2' centers. External deck surfaces are all fitted with recessed stainless steel bolt receptors on 1' x 2' centers.



Winch readout displays are provided at winch control stations on the 01 Level, inside the Winch Control Tower (Doghouse), on the Bridge, and in the Computer Lab at the winch control station. Data from the science data handling system is displayed on monitors in various labs.


Internal Communications

An intra-ship telephone system connects all the spaces in the ship. Handheld UHF and/or VHF radios are available when needed.