Jun 4, 2009 | 1
Deep trenches, unexplored surfaces and a long, treacherous journey: Sounds like a voyage to Mars, but it also describes the trip to the bottoms of Earth's own oceans, about which we know even less than the Red Planet.
What better way to explore the unknown than with an array of robotic subs? Human-occupied underwater vehicles are limited by how long they can stay underwater, and those that are unmanned traditionally have had to be connected to ships via a long control cable. Due to advances in programming and communication, some have been able to go cordless.
Earlier this year, ScientificAmerican.com reported on a few of these submersibles. Here’s an update on where a couple free-ranging subs are now.
One independent swimmer, Nereus, has now reached the Pacific's Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, reports the BBC. It's the first time in more than 10 years that a vehicle has ventured into the trench, and a dive last Sunday took the sub down to a depth of more than 35,761 feet (10,900 meters).
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