The famous Star Trek actor, popular for playing Professor Charles Xavier and famously referred to as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, is moving on to new exciting ventures. The actor is partnering with Ocean Alliance to raise money to help conserve whales. The star who is good friends with a guy named Dr. Ian Kerr — CEO of a conservation group called Ocean Alliance – plans to make a promotional video to raise money for drones needed for whale conservation.
The drone, called Snotbot, will be used to safely collect mucus propelled from a breaching whale’s blowhole without disturbing the animals.
“I’m asking you to support my good friend Captain Ian Kirk and Ocean Alliance in their quest for better, more effective, more efficient, innovative research that will give us answers to some of the mysteries about the ocean and particularly, whales,” Stewart says.
The Snotbot is a custom-made, waterproof, whale-safe device that collects “whale snot” from the unaware mammals when they come up to the water’s surface for air. Created through a partnership with Ocean Alliance and Olin College of Engineering, the Snotbot can collect data from whales while human researchers remain a safe distance away from the animals.
Before Snotbot, (a period Ocean Alliance calls “BS”), researchers would have to chase the whale with a loud motorboat and shoot it with a sampling dart from a crossbow, the alliance explains on its Kickstarter page.
“Imagine if everything your doctor knew about your health came from chasing you around the room with a large needle while blowing an air-horn,” it reads. “The chart would say something like, ‘elevated stress levels, prone to shrieking.'”
“By using Snotbots, the whale never knows the data is being collected,” OA continues. “The custom-built drones fly well above the surface of the water and into the blow, the subjects are never touched or approached closely.”