At a depth of 63 feet, nestled among the coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, sits Aquarius, the world's only permanent undersea research station. Writing for Gizmodo, friend of PopSci and half-man, half-fish Brian Lam is giving us a week-long picture of what life and work is like down below with the real fishes. If his first dispatch is any indication, it's going to be fun to follow along. Check out the series here.
If you thought space was the only frontier Virgin has an interest in tackling, you’ve been missing out on Virgin Oceanic’s drive to pilot the first manned submersible all the way to the very bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench--and thus dive deeper than any solo human has ever dived before. It’s a cool story that is still ongoing, and PopSci favorite IEEE Spectrum has an amazing semi-long read from its March issue up online today.
Neutrinos may or may not move faster than light, but regardless, they're special little things. They speed through the planet, and through you, and through everything; but, chargeless and puny, they interact with their surroundings so minimally that other particles hardly take notice. These subatomic particles are so tiny and so imperturbable they're almost impossible to see, but they originate in some of the most violent and disruptive processes in the universe. Energetic neutrinos that originate in deep space, known as astrophysical neutrinos, escape from the dark centers of the universe's most powerful places — gamma ray bursts, blazars and quasars, and black holes at the centers of galaxies. They can serve as cosmic messengers from these tumultuous places, but first we have to find them, and this is excruciatingly difficult. So European scientists are planning to construct the second-largest structure ever built by humanity, just to look for them.
Two pairs of self-propelled oceangoing robots have begun slowly making their way across the Pacific Ocean, setting off Nov. 17 from San Francisco on an epic journey covering 33,000 nautical miles. During their 300-day trip, the robots will collect 2.25 million pieces of data, and attempt to break a world record for the longest distance ever traversed by an unmanned vehicle.
Liquid Robotics, which built the gliders, aims to share all this data with scientists and the public. Through the Oceans portal in Google Earth, you can even follow the expedition online.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 2:00 pm 0 Comments
The research cruise that 25-year-old Ellie Bors took in 2009 looked so appealing, she says, that she skipped her own Oberlin College graduation to be part of it. On board, the crew made garbage-bag robes and a fake diploma for her, and she made her graduation walk anyway.
On the Labrador Sea, the scientific crew of the research vessel Knorr hunts for underwater storms, sinks a two-mile mooring--and gathers clues to the planet's fate
By Donovan HohnPosted 02.14.2011 at 11:53 am 0 Comments
As we pass through the Strait of Belle Isle and emerge from the shelter of Newfoundland's lee, the first mate pipes instructions from the bridge: Lash down or stow all belongings. Rough weather ahead. Two decks below in the main lab, Amy Bower loads onto her extra-large monitor what appear to be abstract paintings, giant red and orange blobs in a field of yellow, as her computer reads text aloud in a robotic voice. Nose almost touching the screen, she searches for clues in the colorful abstractions, which are in fact oversized topographical maps of the Labrador Sea.
A senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, Bower is the chief scientist on the first leg of voyage 192, as it's officially called—a search for the hidden weather that roils beneath the sea. She also happens to suffer from not one but two congenital diseases: macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. She is legally blind. But in her 22 years as an oceanographer, she's confronted winter storms on the North Atlantic and Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. With the help of her computer and other instruments, Bower can see the ocean far more clearly than most of us.
A new underwater robot designed to chase marine organisms and record their life stories combines the best attributes of long-distance gliders and short-trip propeller vehicles. Its creator says its range and science capabilities could completely change oceanography.
A Navy-funded thermal engine bobbing off the coast of Hawaii is accomplishing a rare feat -- it produces more energy than it consumes. Though it's not quite a perpetual motion machine, it could provide scientists or the Navy with a perpetual presence on the seas. The engine is attached to an unmanned underwater vessel, called SOLO-TREC (for Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangian Observer -- Thermal RECharging), and uses the energy of the ocean to derive a practically limitless energy supply.
SOLO-TREC is outfitted with a series of tubes full of waxy phase-change materials. As the float encounters warm temperatures near the ocean's surface, the materials expand; when it dives and the waters grow cooler, the materials contract. The expansion and contraction pressurizes oil, which drives a hydraulic motor.
Fluid dynamics generally lends itself to the study of fluids themselves, but by revisiting the theories of an 18th-century scientist, researchers have found that studying invisible barriers that form between moving fluids may be far more enlightening than studying the actual fluids. Governing the movements of everything from the oceans to the air flow over a wing, so-called Lagrangian coherent structures are the "skeletons of the sea and air," and are changing the way scientists understand and apply fluid dynamics, according to a report in the Economist.