The Western Lines

June 19, 2009

Robot goes deep

Filed under: Aquatica,Deepsea Exploration,Ralph Buttigieg — ralphbuttigieg @ 11:12 am

The deepest part of the ocean is the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Marianas Trench. At a depth of 11km and over 1000 ATM pressure it has only been visited by humans once, in 1960 by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh in their bathyscaphe.

I’m unaware of any serious plan to send humans down but the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution a robot down to explore this remote part of Aquatica.:

A robotic sub called Nereus has reached the deepest-known part of the ocean.

The dive to 10,902m (6.8 miles) took place on 31 May, at the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean.

This makes Nereus the deepest-diving vehicle currently in service and the first vehicle to explore the Marianas Trench since 1998.

The unmanned vehicle is remotely operated by pilots aboard a surface ship via a lightweight tether. Its thin, fibre-optic tether to the research vessel Kilo Moana allows the submersible to make deep dives and be highly manoeuvrable…….

“With a robot like Nereus, we can now explore virtually anywhere in the ocean,” said Andy Bowen, project manager and principal developer of the sub at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The trenches are virtually unexplored, and I am absolutely certain Nereus will enable new discoveries. I believe it marks the start of a new era in ocean exploration.”

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