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Ocean research vessel expected to dock at Pier 15

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The Falkor, one of the most advanced ocean research vessels in the world, is stopping in San Francisco before it embarks on an exploration of hydrothermal vents off the coast of California.

And while it’s docked outside the Exploratorium at Pier 15 next weekend, the public will have a chance to climb aboard and check out some of the ship’s cutting-edge technology and research labs.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 23, tours of the ship will run every 15 minutes. The tours are free, but tickets are required.

Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Falkor, named for the Luckdragon in “The Neverending Story,” was originally a German fisheries vessel but was converted into an oceanographic research ship in 2012. It uses multi-beam sonar to map the sea floor, high-tech computer and satellite connections that allow researchers to stream live data on the internet, and even an “underwater elevator” that transports instruments to the seafloor.

Tickets can be reserved at reserve@exploratorium.edu or by calling (415) 528-4646. A limited number of tickets will be available on the day of the tour at the east end of Pier 15 starting at 9:45 a.m.

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