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Bloom with a View: Robot Subs Help Researchers Study Mysterious Antarctic Sea Life [Slide Show]

Having tested their mettle in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, automated sea gliders are deployed in polar-opposite conditions to investigate short-lived phytoplankton blooms

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IMPRESSED?

Nov. 28—Asper: "Lowering glider 503 [the second iRobot Seaglider] into the water as the penguins ignore us."....[ More ]

MOUNT EREBUS

Nov. 21—iRobot's Seaglider, with Antarctica's Mount Erebus in the distance. The company licensed the Seaglider technology from the University of Washington in 2008 and has since designed them to tackle data-gathering missions lasting several months and covering thousands of kilometers.....[ More ]

ICE BATH

Nov. 21—Asper: "A close-up of the ROV towing the glider; note the very thin ice and the green towrope. We didn't know if this would work but it worked great, at least under these conditions."....[ More ]

UNTETHERED

Nov. 21—Asper: "This is the glider in the act of being deployed. As soon as it was in the water, they attached the ROV [remotely operated vehicle] towrope to it. One end was tied to the ROV and the other end was in its gripper.....[ More ]

DROPPING SEAGLIDER 1

Nov. 21—Asper: "The FSTP (Field Safety Training Program) people handled all of the ice edge work and were 'roped in' at all times. The water in the background looks like it's ice-free but there is a very thin layer of ice there."....[ More ]

GREASE ICE FIELD

Nov. 21—Asper: "We're finally on our way to the ice for our first Seaglider deployment! This photo is from the helicopter and shows an example of the view as we flew in, looking for a suitable deployment location.....[ More ]

PREPARING THE GLIDER

Nov. 14—Asper: "Our whole operation, including the laptop operator, the glider and the shipping cases. Note that we parked the truck a good distance away to avoid any potential magnetic interference from its metal."....[ More ]

AWAITING DEPLOYMENT

Nov. 14—Asper: "On day two of the operation, the weather was brutal with winds usually about 30 knots and gusting over 45 on occasion. You can see the blowing snow in this photo and the iRobot Seaglider weathering it nicely.....[ More ]

A VIEW UNDER THE ICE

Nov. 12, 2010—Vernon Asper, a marine science professor at the University of Southern Mississippi at Stennis Space Center, wrote: "This is the view under the ice! Amazing! You can see the light coming down through the ice, the crystals of ice growing on the lower surface, some brownish algae growing in/on the ice, some small fish—and, if you really squint, you can see sea anemones on the seafloor.....[ More ]

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