Google-funded sea research vessel sets sail

POSTED: 10:33 AM PDT Aug 01, 2013    UPDATED: 10:33 AM PDT Aug 01, 2013 
SAN FRANCISCO -

A $60 million research ship funded by a Google executive is setting sail from San Francisco to study a so-called "dead zone" in the Pacific Ocean and other mysteries of the sea.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the 272-foot vessel called Falkor was scheduled to leave port Thursday.

The ship carries an unmanned submarine that will travel deep into the ocean off Vancouver Island to study an area where all sea life dies each year from a periodic lack of oxygen.

And scientists working aboard the Falkor are treated to amenities not found on the usual research ship: a sauna and down-filled bunks among them.

The Falkor is funded by the Schmidt Ocean Science Institute, which was co-founded by Google executive Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy.