TETHYS Project
within ERA Program, ASTRA Center, TETRAD Institute

Project TETHYS is a research program in search of the right questions and then the right answers for how we can employ our planetary freshwater lakes and streams in the best ways to sustain life on Earth in the face of inevitable, progressive and probably changes which could threaten human and other forms of life.

There is climate change and aspects of its current progression are difficult to predict. There are other threats to organized human life and life in general that may come from within the Earth or from beyond it, and in many cases the effects on freshwater bodies may be dramatic. In many cases we cannot prevent certain events and consequences that will follow. In most cases we can hope to adapt and do our best. TETHYS is about producing the best toolsets of knowledge and skills for us to adapt in ways that will optimize the outcomes in favor of survival and sustainability.

TETHYS aims to examine what we have been studying – our datasets, our methods of analysis, and our processes of modeling and forecasting. Its objectives are to consider what we have available and what is feasible, in the way of technologies, and to employ them more effectively, most effectively, so that the ecosystems of freshwater bodies such as major lakes and river systems around the world can become a multi-dimensional “barometer” for what is also transpiring and changing elsewhere on our planet, including in our mid-continent regions, our deep oceans, and in the interfaces between earth, water and sky that determine how our crops will grow, how maritime food sources will be maintained, and how the changes imposed by our changing climate will affect our water and soil and air in the future.

As one example, TETHYS will study, using resources that are orbiting in space, airborne, on the surface and also subsurface, the changes in persistent organophosphate pollutants that are being released from thawing and melting permafrost regions and subsequently deposited on our soils and in our waters.

Project TETHYS is organized as an independent consortium of people and institutions. It is coordinated and managed by The TETRAD Institutes, a private not-for-profit research organization. The consortium is (as of September 2019) in the process of being established through invitations and dialogs among several institutions. These include universities, public agencies, and companies in several countries, all bringing particular expertise, experience, and resources to the project:

  • USA (Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, Colorado, Washington, Maine)
  • United Kingdom
  • European Union (France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands)
  • Switzerland
  • Russian Federation
Experimental and computational resources include permanent physical laboratories and mobile laboratory components that are integrated airborne, maritime land and space (satellite) vehicles. TETHYS activities are principally a new set of uses and applications for what many research programs have been producing and are continuing to do in the course of their established activities. New project activities are designed to make the most use of what is already in place and ongoing (e.g., continuity with existing AUV/ROV data collection, Copernicus/sentinel satellite telemetry, and established projects in the development and testing of sensors, robots and simulation systems. This enables the operation of analytical and computational laboratory functions that are concurrent and non-intrusive with existing projects and assignments, in essence adding value and utility to existing centers.

TETHYS provides simultaneously an active network-based research facility for scientists and a highly visible educational experience for non-specialist visitors, volunteers and the general public through a variety of media and direct-encounter opportunities. All of these functions and measures of engagement derive from what participating institutions and team members have been doing already and what has been demonstrated to be feasible, viable and successful in other venues.

TETHYS is focused upon the comprehensive history, present conditions and potential futures of freshwater streams and lakes and the ecosystems that exist and evolve in the proximity of such freshwater bodies. The primary focus of TETHYS experimental work is upon several inland seas in North America, Europe and Asia, with defined plans to expand activity worldwide to all continents and oceans. The philosophical, scientific, and technical foundations of TETHYS enable integration of data, information, knowledge and experience with a global community that is concerned with and addressing common issues and concerns for freshwater environments and habitats worldwide. This is an important and integral function of Project TETHYS – bringing people and knowledge together in order to optimize the ways we work with our lakes and streams and water supplies, for our society and its economy, stability, and sustainability.

The laboratories involved in TETHYS enable scientists, engineers and technologists from the academic, corporate and public communities to participate in scientific investigations that encompass:

  • • analytical chemistry
  • • analytical microbiology
  • • modeling and simulation
This scientific work is conducted in a manner that integrates closely with research, education, public relations, economic developments and healthcare, all being important and critical aspects of our socioeconomic life and all being exceptionally intertwined and interdependent with the life and well-being of our planetary Inland Seas.

Mobile laboratory units, some very compact and others involving trailers and containers, are extensions of the primary “virtual lab” network. These mobile units are principally employed for data acquisition and for education/training and public awareness/experience, using existing research vessels and other appropriate marine, terrestrial and aviation vehicles.

The space-based components within Project TETHYS are closely-coupled with prior and ongoing research and development comprising the ASTRIC Project. ASTRIC has historically been focused upon the design and deployment of intelligent cooperative robotic systems for deep-space (beyond Near-Earth Orbit) operations such as in the modification of the trajectory paths of potentially impact-threat asteroids. Part of TETHYS operational planning is intended and designed to provide for the simultaneous use of novel robotics including micro-sized, soft-arm, serpentine and hyper-multi-axis robots, in aquatic environments such as deep lakes, for sensing and monitoring operations, and also for testing of prototypes that will be deployed, as part of the ASTRIC project work, in cooperative robot networks that perform tasks in space (such as mining, grappling, charge-setting, and other tasks) with asteroids and on other orbiting and transiting bodies.

TETHYS is an open-ended project that cannot be bounded within the confines of a singular institution, finite consortium of team members, and most definitely, not within a traditional, finite project specification, budget and schedule. Such thinking does not work for the tasks which we as the human race and as residents of Earth are facing in our present times. We all can recognize that there are severe dark clouds on our horizon. We all know some of the implications of big storms. As the first step in overcoming an imminent set of non-linear changes in our environment, ranging from the consequences of global warming and climate change, to the impact of a historically unprecedented asteroid collision, we must collectively acknowledge that we do not know the answers and the outcomes, and we do not even yet know all of the right questions to ask nor the ways to interpret the data that we are physically and computationally able to collect.

Once we can step forward with acknowledging some of the important things that we do not know or know well, then we are on the right path to applying scientific method and sound logic, aided by the powers of intuition and courage, to finding out the answers we will need.

Time, however, is most definitely not on the side of those who would say to wait, to go slower, to think it over, to analyze-to-death every possible issue. There are multiple clocks ticking, and now is the time for action. By working together with a philosophy of collaboration and “coadunatio” in the first place, ahead of “self” and “us vs. them”, we really do have a strong chance to overcome the risks facing Life on Our Planet.

TETHYS has a lot to do with water, our lakes, our seas. However, much of what we can learn and do, can be aided by having eyes and ears and hands far above, in space. ASTRIC is initially focused upon space and objects coming our way or being near enough or interesting enough to matter for our future.

Synthesis of ideas, skills, reflexes, and all our mistakes, is the path to being creatively and powerfully and successfully adaptive. Intelligence is all about control, and adaptation to the new, the unforeseen, the never-experienced-before. This is why we are still here alive as a species on Earth, and why we can still most definitely aspire,

Ad astra per aspera

This is a placeholder page. More to follow soon!

Meanwhile, look at other pages of TETRAD Institute, and ASTRA Center, and also there are papers and presentations at http://tdyn.org/martindudziak

Particularly note the papers pertaining to cybernetics and control theory. Also see some of the work on the Seldon Engine which is relevant to the pattern recognition and discrimnation tasks involved. Other material can be found at the OHI site.


TETRAD Institute is a private not-for-profit international research organization dedicated to advancement of culture through science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, working in collaboration with partners in academia, industry, and others within both the public and private sectors.

Contact: +1 (231) 492-8301 (voice/text/Viber/WhatsApp), +1 (562) 399-2890, +1 (505) 926-1399
contact@tdyn.org, martinjoseph (at) tdyn.org, rachaelc (at) intelrenaissance.com, martin.dudziak@gmail.com

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