Arctic crossing planned for autonomous sub

Click to enlargeBritish Antarctic Survey

❝ The UK’s favourite new yellow submarine, Boaty McBoatface, is in training for a grand challenge…Scientists plan to send the long-range autonomous vehicle under the sea-ice of the Arctic – from one side of the ocean basin to the other.

It is a journey of at least 2,500km – and while nuclear subs might routinely do it, the prospect is a daunting one for a battery-operated research vehicle…The trip could happen in 2018 or 2019.

❝ “It represents one of the last great transects on Earth for an autonomous sub,” said Prof Russell Wynn, from the National Oceanography Centre, Boaty’s UK base…“Previously, such subs have gone perhaps 150km (horizontally) under the ice and then come back out out again. Boaty will have the endurance to go all the way across the Arctic.”…

❝ “One of the things we’re going to do is teach Boaty to read a map,” said Prof Wynn. “You give it a map of the seabed in its brain and then as it travels it uses sonar to collect data that it can compare with the stored map. This should tell it where it is. It’s a neat concept but it’s never been tested over thousands of km before.”…

❝ Schools will be able to apply for education packs centred on ocean and polar topics. And STEM ambassadors will also be working with children to bring these subjects alive.

Beaucoup information, anecdotes, discussion-worthy goodies in the article. No doubt there will be online tracking much like that following the recent solar round-the-globe adventure. Looking forward to Boaty’s travels.

4 thoughts on “Arctic crossing planned for autonomous sub

  1. McKenzie says:

    “Canada’s race to claim Arctic waters depends on critical seafloor mapping project” “The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker ship Louis S. St-Laurent is mapping the seafloor near the North Pole this weekend, as Canada prepares to stake a claim to territory beyond the 200-mile nautical limit in Arctic waters. It is the third and final year of an Arctic mapping project to collect data about the reach of the continental shelf under the Arctic Ocean, Canada’s least known and least mapped ocean. It’s part of a decade-long effort to improve knowledge of the sensitive area.
    According to Mary-Lynn Dickson, chief scientist on the expedition, Canada could add about two million square kilometres to its territory, about the size of three additional Prairie provinces, if its application for jurisdiction over the continental shelf under the Arctic Ocean is successful.”

  2. Chechako says:

    “Navy Arctic Drones: Ice Melting Too Fast as Competition With Russia Intensifies”
    The U.S. Navy is analyzing research findings from underwater drones beneath the ice in the Arctic Ocean to assess how quickly the ice is melting and understand how soon the U.S. and Russia will be competing for new strategic waterways in the region.
    The drones are measuring the temperature and salt content to help scientists develop more accurate computer models with which to predict the anticipated future pace of melting ice, according to the science advisor to the Office of Naval Research. See also the Navy’s Updated Arctic Road Map
    Meanwhile, satellite images show an apparent expansion of nuclear weapons sites on the Kola Peninsula in the far northwest of Russia

  3. Mickey says:

    “Boaty McBoatface returns home from abyss” (University of Southampton 6/28/17) Includes video: “In order to visualise the progress of Boaty and place the data in the context of the complicated terrain in the region, the team have created an animated fly-through of the Orkney Passage. The information collected will now be analysed to understand the complex process of ocean mixing and how it affects climate change.” See also “Boaty McBoatface Has Come Home From The Cold Abyss With ‘Unprecedented Data'” (Forbes 6/29/17)

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