Tag Archives: underwater

The Underwater Drone Helping Search for Flight MH370


Bluefin-21 is in the water after being craned over the side of Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield to begin using its side-scan sonar in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on April 14.

If wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is ever discovered, an underwater drone could very well be the first thing to spot it.

The Bluefin-21 was contracted by the U.S. Navy to dive into the southern Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia and scan the ocean floor for pieces of the plane that went missing on March 8 with 239 people onboard.

The drone was forced to resurface on April 16 due to a technical issue, according to a press release provided to Mashable by the Joint Agency Coordination Center, a search organization the Australian government created to help find the missing Malaysia airliner. Officials downloaded the drone’s memory once it was above water but, so far, Bluefin-21 has turned up nothing significant.

Built by Bluefin Robotics but owned and operated by Phoenix International, this autonomous underwater vehicle takes instructions from a ship’s radio before diving up to around 2.8 miles underwater. The remains of flight MH370 might be much farther down, but at that depth Bluefin-21 can blast the ocean floor with a sonar beam.

Data picked up from the sonar will be delivered once the drone resurfaces. Jim Gibson, General Manager of Phoenix International, told Mashable that if Bluefin-21 finds what might be a debris field, someone will switch out the vehicle’s sonar instruments with photo-taking equipment and send it back down to see if the clutter comes from the Malaysia Airlines plane. Bluefin-21 scans from side-to-side, and can spend about 16 hours at the bottom before coming up to re-juice.

The ability to swap equipment is key to why this particular drone wound up searching for flight MH370.

“It’s easily transported, unlike a lot of the other AUVs that are one piece,” Gibson said. “You can’t disassemble them, you need a special launch and recovery system to get them in and out of the water and everything else, and they’re quite heavy.”

The ’21’ refers to the drone’s 21-inch diameter, according to the Bluefin Robotics website. It’s a little over 16 feet long and weighs around 1,650 pounds when it’s not in the water. Once it hits its lowest depth, the vehicle travels about three nautical miles per hour and can scan about 15 square miles of ocean floor per day. It stores all that information into its four gigabytes of memory.

Despite the technical hiccup early on April 16, Bluefin-21 was redeployed later that day.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/04/16/underwater-drone-mh370/

Beautiful Frozen Lake Free Dive

This spectacular video from the GoPro Awards shows some beautiful underwater images, near the frozen surface of a giant lake. The trending video already got half a million views already.

“Under the icy cloak of the Canadian winter, Matthew Villegas finds himself in an aquatic wonderland as he free dives to the depths of Morrison quarry, in Quebec, Canada.”

via: LangweileDich.net

Read more: https://www.viralviralvideos.com/2017/01/05/beautiful-frozen-lake-free-dive/

Spaceship-Style Floating Lab Could Be Exploring Our Oceans In 2016

Despite covering more than 70% of our planet’s surface, we know surprisingly little about Earth’s oceans. With more than 95% of the world’s underwater realm unexplored, scientists know more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than the bottom of the ocean. Due to intense pressures and poor visibility, the deep ocean is an extremely challenging place to study. But that could be set to change in the not too distant future, thanks to a pioneering architect’s ambitious project which will see a $50 million floating laboratory take to the seas.

SeaOrbiter, the futuristic ship that’s been hailed the Starship Enterprise for the water, is the brainchild of French architect Jacques Rougerie. While he has a history of making crazy dreams become a reality, this is by far his boldest project to date.

The craft is still only on the drawing board at the moment, but thanks to crowdfunding efforts through KissKissBankBank, Rougerie and his colleagues have secured $475,000 which will allow them to initiate construction towards the end of the year. If funding continues, some of which has been provided by the French government, then the team is hopeful that it could be completed in 2016.

Much like an International Space Station (ISS) for the sea, the 58-meter (190-foot) tall vessel will advance basic science and improve technology. While drifting unobtrusively across the ocean, the laboratory will continuously analyze a myriad of physical, chemical and environmental parameters to give us new insight into the ecosystem of the open ocean.

SeaOrbiter/ Jacques Rougerie

Its underwater hangar will be home to a series of underwater exploration devices and vehicles that are able to explore depths of up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet). The hope is that these devices will yield a treasure trove of information, such as previously unknown submarine mountains, new life forms and microscopic organisms that could be used to treat diseases. Marine biologists already discover around 2,000 new species living in our oceans each year, but SeaOrbiter wants to see this number become even higher. The ship will be equipped with a wet lab so that scientists can both conduct experiments and store specimens before they are transported to land-based stations.

Like the ISS, SeaOrbiter will be manned round-the-clock. Between 18 and 22 crew members will make SeaOrbiter their home at any period and will take part in prolonged missions. Divers living at normal atmospheric pressure can explore the first 50 meters of the ocean, but crew members living in a special pressurized zone can explore depths of up to 100 meters for extended periods of time. This deck will also allow physiological studies, such as examining the movement of gas bubbles throughout the body, which could improve diving technology.

SeaOrbiter/ Jacques Rougerie

Although construction of this futuristic vessel has yet to begin, the SeaOrbiter team already has even bigger plans for the future. They hope to eventually create a whole fleet of ships so that a craft can be sailed in every ocean. Who knows when, or realistically if, this will happen, but it’s an exciting prospect to say the least.

[Via SeaOrbiter, Discover Magazine, PopSci and The Verge]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/spaceship-style-floating-lab-could-be-exploring-our-oceans-2016