Navigation Links
NASA-funded robotic sub finds bottom of world's deepest sinkhole

A robotic vehicle designed for underwater exploration plunged repeatedly into the depths of Mexico’s mysterious El Zacatón sinkhole in late May, finding its previously undiscovered bottom 318 meters below the surface and generating a sonar map of its inner dimensions. The vehicle employed autonomous navigation and mapping systems developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

During a two-week NASA-funded exploration led by Bill Stone of Stone Aerospace, the Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX) revealed that the geothermal sinkhole, or cenote, did not have a tunnel or any other obvious underwater connections with neighboring cenotes in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It also obtained numerous samples of water and the gooey biofilm coating the cenote’s walls.

"We’re very pleased about the performance of the DEPTHX system," said David Wettergreen, an associate research professor who headed Carnegie Mellon’s contingent of the research team. "We hit our technical objectives in creating a system that could explore and map autonomously."

In addition to gathering information regarding geothermal sinkholes, DEPTHX tested technologies and methods that might be useful in other underwater explorations, including the long-term possibility of exploring the oceans hidden under the icy crust of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. For the near term, NASA recently approved a project that will use these technologies to explore underneath the ice of West Lake Bonney in Antarctica’s Taylor Valley.

The DEPTHX vehicle, 2.5 meters in diameter, included 56 sonars that the Carnegie Mellon team used to determine the location of the vehicle as it explored the cenote. It also used the sensors to create maps of the sinkhole’s interior via a technique called simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM. Prior to the DEPTHX field experiment, SLAM had been used for navigating in buildings and mines, but had never operated in an underwater e nvironment or with such sparse sensor input.

Robots typically navigate by recognizing features, but cenote walls, while irregular, lack distinctive features. To overcome this challenge, DEPTHX had to navigate by recognizing a more global response from all of its sensors.

Wettergreen said demonstrating that SLAM could work in such a featureless environment suggests that it will have applications in environments with similarly sparse features, like rivers or mines.

Though initially operated on a tether, DEPTHX eventually operated autonomously, without a tether or human guidance, for eight hours at a time. "The fact that we never lost it, never required a rescue mission, is an achievement itself," Wettergreen added.
'"/>

Source:Carnegie Mellon University


Related biology news :

1. U of MN uses robotic surgery techniques in cardiac cell therapy research
2. 3-D ultrasound scanner could guide robotic surgeries
3. Current human embryonic stem cell lines contaminated UCSD/Salk team finds
4. Study finds more than one-third of human genome regulated by RNA
5. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
6. Same mutation aided evolution in many fish species, Stanford study finds
7. NC State scientist finds soft tissue in T. rex bones
8. Genrate: a generative model that finds and scores new genes and exons in genomic microarray data
9. Genetically modified rice in China benefits farmers health, study finds
10. Survey finds silver contamination in North Pacific waters
11. Anti cancer virotherapy well tolerated in first human administration, research finds

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution ... the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with ... of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of ... ID readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes ... the heels of the deployment of its platform at ... behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... -- Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial  restructuring under ... M.D., who returned to the company in October 2015. ... including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver , Ph.D., ... Vice President of Software and Informatics, Michael Kaiser ... Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from 2005-2014 and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of subjects ... the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at a ... , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which ... "In certain areas ... have common economic goals, why not sit down and address ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering ... retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Md. , June 23, 2016 A person ... from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA ... sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: