MYSTIC, Conn. (AP) -- Famed ocean explorer Robert Ballard has received a $500,000 federal grant to help expand his high-tech system for giving people a glimpse of what's under the sea to students and scientists across the country.

Satellites and high-tech computer technology will soon be beaming the underwater exploits of Ballard and crews across the globe.

"We can, through this technology, take millions to the ocean floor," Ballard, founder and head of the Institute for Exploration at Mystic Aquarium, said late last week.

Ballard said the first transmission will begin in July, broadcasting images and data from ships and submersibles exploring sunken vessels and archaeological finds in the Black Sea.

Complete construction of a "classroom of tomorrow" and the communications center and production facility could take up to two years, he said.

Ballard, who has found famous wrecks such as the Titanic, said viewing his expeditions live is essential to grabbing the interest of people, especially students.

"Consumers in America are used to being fed things live," he said. "They've just watched the war in Iraq live. To compete, we have to do what we do in an exciting and real-time way."

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