So, this is our little friend, who I will undoubtedly be mentally referring to as “Little Geek” a la The Abyss. It is fondly called “litten ROV” in Norwegian. ROV being a remotely operated vehicle, this means that someone is operating the vehicle the whole time it is deployed, just like a remotely controlled car or aeroplane. Tomorrow we will get to meet the AUV, or autonomous underwater vehicle, which steers itself, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish. ROV’s are somewhat more friendly to the newbie because if everything goes completely wahooney shaped (things completely stop working) you can drag the ROV back onto the boat/pier by the umbilical, not ideal but a good backup.
The next device is somewhat less cute but integral to the whole process. Below is a transducer, this is dropped into the water and provides a relative position for the ROV. Because we can’t see the ROV and things like GPS don’t work underwater it’s hard to get a reliable fix on the location of the vehicle, this transducer can help with that. Just cause it doesn’t immediately look cool doesn’t mean it’s not completely awesome!
Now, it’s true, Group 1 don’t have their own ROV, however what they are doing is really cool! (Though somewhat hard to photograph, so you’ll just have to trust me!).
Basically what they are going to do is fill a cage with some really groovoid and sensitive sensors and drop it through the water column to see what’s going on.
So, below we have some pumps (at the front of the photo) which move water quickly through the sensors. Without these pumps the water would move slower inside the instruments than outside thus giving wrong readings for that depth. At the back is the battery which supplies power to all the sensors and in the middle is the data logger which compiles all the information coming from the different sensors so that it actually makes sense when you download it. As with all the research we are doing there are quite a few unknowns, one really important unknown here is how long the batteries are going to last in the cold. That could well be the million dollar question.
If you want to see a cool video of what’s going on down on the Norwegian coast have a look at http://love.statoil.com/