Antarctic Robo-sub

Posted on February 22, 2007  Comments (0)

Robo-sub takes Antarctic plunge

The submersible, which when not at sea is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, is built to withstand enormous pressure and can dive to depths of 6.5km (four miles). It is equipped with a number of instruments, including cameras, sonars, and sample-collectors that are deployed using its mechanical arms. It is tethered to its “mothership” – on this expedition the RSS James Clark Ross – with a 10km (6 miles) cable.

Scientists manoeuvre the ROV from a control room onboard the ship, and can see the data it produces in real-time. Professor Dowdeswell said: “When you are sat there in the control room, surrounded by monitors, you really feel that you are down at the sea bed with the ROV. You have to pinch yourself to remember that you are not.”

Professor Tyler, like Professor Dowdeswell, deemed the mission a success: “The wealth and diversity of the fauna in this area was incredible. “We knew it would be diverse, but when you think the area we were looking at is totally ice-covered for about six to nine months of the year, this is extremely interesting.”

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