The extreme expanse of the deep sea, which hides a completely new world, and the technological challenges of working in the depths make it difficult to access and study. What makes it a surprise that scientists know more about the surface of the moon than the deep seafloor. Although the deep ocean floor plays a crucial role in our planet’s climate and its carbon cycle.
It is not an easy task to unveil all the ocean mysteries, with lots of hindrances getting in researchers’ way, such as the extreme hydrostatic pressure, or the corrosiveness of seawater. But scientists are now gaining better important progress thanks to the tracked robotic underwater, Benthic Rover II.
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Benthic Rover II specifications
Just like Spirit, the robotic rovers, which wheeled across the dusty surface of Mars, a new robot, Benthic Rover II, smoothly traveled across the muddy ocean bottom.
Engineers at the MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) in California, developedBenthic Rover II. It is the size of a small car, measuring 8.5 ft (2.6 m) length, 4.9 ft (1.5 m) height, and 5.6 ft (1.7 m) width. They made the rover of corrosion-resistant titanium, plastic, and pressure-resistant syntactic foam. Plus it is equipped with rubber tracks. It crawls on the seafloor and is able to deploy nearly 19,700 ft (6,000 m) deep.
It wasn’t easy to make the solid, autonomous machine either in hardware or software. According to MBARI Electrical Engineer, Paul McGill, the Benthic Rover II comes with a computer control system. Since there’s no one down there to be able to press a reset button, the software is reliable enough to run for a year without crashing.
As same as an iPhone, the electronics in the robot consume very little power (an average of two watts), with the batteries carried for it being calculated to last for an entire year.
How it works
The rover uses its sensors to detect the most appropriate currents. To help it move until it reaches the research aims site. On the front, it is equipped with cameras. Transparent respirometer chambers, which allow it to take photos of its surroundings. Also to measure fluorescence and the oxygen consumption of the organisms living there. After collecting all the data it needs to be in one spot, it moves on to another site, to take more samples.
The Benthic Rover II gives valuable data on long-term and short-term changes in the deep sea. Modifications that researchers oftentimes missed. This pot is so crucial to understanding the carbon cycle, especially considering the changing climate. Oceans absorb more than 25 percent of all the excess carbon dioxide we produce by burning fossil fuels and others.