Boaty McBoatface dives into first Antarctic mission
- Author: Regina Walsh Mar 16, 2017,
Mar 16, 2017, 0:36
The autonomous underwater vehicle is a 3.62-meter-long, 700-kg "autosub" capable of traveling under ice at depths of up to 6,000 meters.
A British government agency spurned the results of an online poll previous year to name their new, $287 million polar research ship Boaty McBoatface. The information that it collects will help scientists to better understand how the ocean is being impacted by global warming. As a concession to voters, however, the organization used the Boaty McBoatface name for another one of its sea vessels-a little yellow remote-controlled submarine.
Boaty McBoatface has all the bells and whistles one could ever ask for in a remote-controlled underwater research submarine: the ability to travel under ice, transmit data to its mothership, and reach depths of almost 20,000 feet. It instead named the £200m ship after the naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.
Boaty and friends will launch from Chile on Friday to begin the journey to the Antarctic on board the research ship RRS James Clark Ross.
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Recently, scientists have suspected that changing winds over the Southern Ocean are affecting the speed of seafloor currents carrying AABW - and that could be affecting the amount of turbulent flow in the Orkney Passage.
The lead scientist, Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato, from the University of Southampton, said that the Orkney Passage is a key choke-point to the flow of abyssal waters in which they expect the mechanism, linking changing winds to abyssal water-warming, to operate. Ultimately, the researchers would like to create models to help them predict how our climate will change during the 21st century and beyond.
All jokes aside, NERC is insistent the public remember that Boaty McBoatface is engaged in serious and important business.
A future mission for Boaty will be to attempt the first-ever under ice crossing of the Arctic Ocean. The cutting-edge sub can dive deep enough to reach 95% of the ocean, the U.K.'s National Oceanography Center reports.