Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, and now, a new research vessel—blazing the trail toward exciting scientific discovery—appropriately bears her name.

The Sally Ride is a cutting-edge, 238-foot ship that aims to usher in a new age of oceanic exploration. It's just completed its maiden voyage from Anacortes, Washington, where it was built, down the west coast to the Scripps Nimitz Marine Facility in Southern California. It will continue to be operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography under an agreement with the Office of Naval Research.

Among the many pieces of high-end equipment aboard the craft are high-efficiency diesel generators, which are not only powerful but quiet, thanks to specially designed propellers, reports WIRED, which recently went aboard the ship. That's nice enough on its own, but it also aids the scientists, who often need to listen closely to what's happening deep below the surface. The thrust of the research conducted aboard the Sally Ride is global warming’s impact on the oceans, which involves measuring everything from salinity, to temperature, to the water's composition. 

The ship has accommodations for 24 scientists and will operate with a crew of 20, and oceanographic scientists are invited to hop aboard for Science Verification Cruises beginning this fall.

You can follow R/V Sally Ride on her many adventures via Scripps, Twitter, and Facebook. WIRED spoke with Margaret Leinen, the director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which you can check out here.

[h/t WIRED]

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