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Ocean rower Roz Savage gave up her life as a management consultant to row across the Atlantic in 2005. Her mission now is to row across the Pacific, from the West Coast of the United States to Australia, raising awareness of the world’s top environmental issues along the way.

This week she is temporarily trading her boat for a much bigger one, the National Geographic Endeavour, where she will speak at an ocean-themed TED Prize conference in the Galapagos Islands.

Today, TED and deep-ocean explorer Sylvia Earle, onboard the Endeavour, announced the launch of Mission Blue to raise awareness of the urgent need to create Marine Protected Areas. The Mission Blue Voyage is hosted by TED from April 6-10 aboard the National Geographic Endeavour in the Galapagos Islands.

Next week, if conditions are right, Roz Savage plans to set off on the final leg of her three-stage trip in her attempt to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific.

She communicates by Iridium satellite phone. The phone is also connected to a laptop, to send Tweets, emails and post blogs. She’s even got her own iPhone app, called the Roz Tracker, which enables users to follow her along as she navigates the Pacific.

Her boat’s equipment includes; 4 x 60W Solara solar panels, 2 x 40W flexible solar panels and SeaVolt AGM Deep Cycle batteries (3 x 79Ah), to power Simrad navigation instruments and VHF radio, Iridium satellite phone, Spectra water maker, stereo with water-proof speakers and Sea-Me radar enhancer. She is also fitted with cigar-lighter sockets used for recharging the batteries for the camera, camcorder, and other portable electronics.

Archinoetics developed the RozTracker web application. Roz can post social media to the map while integrating data from her GPS system. She can send updates to Twitter, Blogger, Flickr, podcasts, and YouTube just by sending an email.

Project Niu is a K-12 science curriculum that deploys a “message in a bottle” as it drifts out to sea. The Niu device is outfitted with a GPS, digital camera, and satellite sensors. Application specialist Evan Rapoport created a website which contains lesson plans and blogs with real-time data on a Google map.

In related news, Fifteen year old Parker Liautaud is reporting on his progress skiing his way to the North Pole. He has made his goal to become the youngest person to ski to the North Pole, and to use that attempt to bring greater awareness to the urgent environmental issues of the arctic. Parker’s journey is part of an expedition that is open to the public.

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