Our proposal was submitted to the Marine Geology and Geophysics Program of the National Science Foundation in February, 1996 - it was not funded at this panel, however. The reviews of the proposal were sent to us, and we revised the proposal based on helpful comments and suggestions from the reviewers. For example, one suggestion was that a rock sampling program would help us to understand better how magma moves from the magma reservoir at the summit of Kilauea volcano along the East Rift Zone to the Puna Ridge. We added this component to the proposal and made several other changes and resubmitted the proposal to NSF August 15, 1996. In early Spring, 1997 we found out that our proposal was funded.
Once a research cruise is funded, the next step is to get the cruise assigned to a research vessel. This is a complicated process as all of the funded research cruises must be juggled to fit into the schedule, and many of these research cruises are in different oceans. Our cruise was scheduled for Fall, 1998 on the R/V Thomas G. Thompson, in this case 2.5 years after we submitted our first proposal. The R/V Thompson is operated by the University of Washington.
After we were funded for our research cruise, we started to think about ways to involve the public and school kids in our expedition. We talked to a lot of education and telecommunications specialists about our idea to make our expedition a web-based educational event, and they were all very enthusiastic. We decided to submit a proposal to the Geoscience Education Program of the National Science Foundation to add an educational component to the cruise. In January of 1998, we submitted PROWL (Puna Ridge On the Web - a Learning event), and in May, we found out that it was funded. We've been very busy ever since!