Navigation Links
New robot scouts best locations for components of undersea lab
Date:8/13/2008

Like a deep-sea bloodhound, Sentry the newest in an elite group of unmanned submersibles able to operate on their own in demanding and rugged environments has helped scientists pinpoint optimal locations for two observation sites of a pioneering seafloor laboratory being planned off Washington and Oregon.

Successful selection of the two sites is a crucial step in developing an extensive sensor network above and below the seafloor on the Juan de Fuca Plate, according to John Delaney, University of Washington oceanographer and chief scientist for a two-week mapping expedition.

The network, which will be connected to land by underwater cables from locations near Warrenton and Pacific City, Ore., will help unlock secrets about such things as the ocean's ability to absorb greenhouse gases and help scientists learn how seafloor stresses cause earthquakes and tsunamis. The network is one component of a wider project being overseen by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership as part of the National Science Foundation's Oceans Observatories Initiative.

"The ocean community is on the threshold of a new era in which an ensemble of novel technologies will provide us with an increasingly powerful capacity for exploring and interacting with the global ocean system," Delaney said. "The cruise itself is an example of the coming generation of systems, where highly capable autonomous underwater vehicles like Sentry will be integral components. Today's AUVs are helping us develop the power and high-speed communications network we'll need to explore powerful and potentially dangerous processes at underwater volcanoes, within powerful tsunamis or in the wake of large storms and hurricanes."

In plans thus far, cables from two places on land will extend to five primary nodes each about the size of a large dinner table. Like underwater extension cords, the nodes will supply power to and communicate with instruments, robots and smaller secondary nodes.

Choosing the right sites involved mapping and imaging in remarkable detail using sonar instruments, a towed camera and Sentry. Sentry, for instance, produces maps precise to within 1 meter, or about 3 feet, as it glides about 250 feet above the seafloor. Operators program the vehicle with directions of the area to map but the vehicle is on its own when it comes to maneuvering up and down cliffs, basins and other terrain that it encounters, all while keeping a consistent distance from the bottom.

The one-of-a-kind autonomous underwater vehicle built by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution with funding largely from the National Science Foundation made six dives during the July 22 to Aug. 5 expedition. It was the first time the vehicle has been used during an actual oceanographic research cruise. Sentry surveyed 212 linear kilometers of seafloor, or about 53 square kilometers, as it traced parallel lines like a lawn mower making a pattern across a yard.

"Seeing the first maps pop up on our screen was a real thrill for us, they represent the results of hard work by all members of our team," said Dana Yoerger, the lead Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution engineer of Sentry. See WHOI release about Sentry at http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=47407&ct=162.

The work made it possible to finalize locations for two critical sites. One is near an area 50 miles off Newport, Ore., where scientists would like to learn more about the icy methane that collects on or below the seafloor where the Juan de Fuca plate dives beneath North America.

"Most developed nations have major research efforts focused on understanding and learning to use these energy-rich deposits of methane," Delaney said. "Our plan is to build the infrastructure that will allow entire generations of scientists to study these deposits firsthand using robotic telepresence no other country is there yet." The other site is about 300 miles west of Cannon Beach, Ore., and in a decidedly different environment. That one's on top of Axial Seamount, the largest active submarine volcano east of Hawaii and north of Baja California, Mexico. Earthquakes, eruptions and hydrothermal venting at Axial Seamount are representative of what happens worldwide along the 43,000 mile Mid-Ocean Ridge System.

"The key to choosing these locations is to find sites that are protected but within reach of really interesting processes that we're trying to investigate," said Deborah Kelley, UW oceanographer and co-chief scientist on the expedition. For details of the all the tools used, as well as preliminary surveying for other parts of the planned observatory, see the expedition's Web site at http://ooi.ocean.washington.edu/cruise/.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sandra Hines
shines@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Robot vehicle surveys deep sea off Pacific Northwest
2. Robotics research: Enhancing the lives of people with disabilities
3. Wearable Sensors Conceived at Harvard Robotics Lab Measure Hand Forces
4. Tufts to develop morphing chemical robots
5. School of Robofish provides basis for underwater robot teams
6. Actor-robots staff part of new $5M simulation training center
7. Robot fetches objects with just a point and a click
8. Unmanned aerial vehicles mark robotic first for British Antarctic Survey
9. Wiggle room: Cornell researcher borrows idea from sperm to provide energy for nanoscale robots
10. Dissecting the genetic components of adaptation of E. coli to the mouse gut
11. Model for the assembly of advanced, single-molecule-based electronic components developed at Pitt
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New robot scouts best locations for components of undersea lab
(Date:4/19/2016)... -- The new GEZE SecuLogic access control ... system solution for all door components. It can be ... interface with integration authorization management system, and thus fulfills ... dimensions of the access control and the optimum integration ... considerable freedom of design with regard to the doors. ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit ... Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein ... dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um ... der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers ... the most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are ... to read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: