A tiny sailboat built by UW Lab School students will accompany two University of Wyoming faculty members when they embark on their next research mission.

Michael Cheadle and Barbara John will bring the small vessel, dubbed “The Jackalope,” with them when they board the research vessel Atlantis on an expedition to the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The husband-wife research team plan to launch the sailboat out to sea, in the hope that it will be discovered on a foreign shore.

“It’s outfitted with a GPS. NOAA will track it for the Lab School students,” said Cheadle, a UW associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, in a press release. “It’s almost five feet long, with no motor. It just has an itty bitty sail and keel.”

John, a UW professor of geology and geophysics, said that the boat also contains writing in almost 20 languages, so that anybody who finds the boat can communicate with the students.

The Jacaklope is part of a multipronged community outreach effort related to the voyage of the U.S Research Vessel Atlantis and two small submarines tasked with exploring and sampling the sea floor at Pito Deep in the Pacific Ocean, according to a UW press release. The outreach includes partnerships with the Teton County Library in Jackson, the Wyoming Geological Association in Casper and the Birch Aquarium in San Diego, Calif.

The Atlantis is scheduled to depart from Easter Island Jan. 13 to conduct research at Pito Deep before returning to Arica in Chile Feb. 24.

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