Beneath Antarctica robot submarine to be the first to learn a secret

2011-02-14

Beneath Antarctica  robot submarine to be the first to learn a secret Missions destination - the Ross Ice Shelf, which juts out from Western Antarctica. Scientists expect a never-before-seen view of melting and other conditions in the pocket of ocean below the ice shelf, where the warming seawater is eating away at the ice.

"It's designed to go into an area where no man has been before and probably never will,"" said Ross Powell, a geologist at Northern Illinois University.

Powell presented the robot's capabilities here at the 2010 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Scientists plan to use a jet of hot water to bore down more than 2,600 feet (800 meters), giving the robot an ocean entryway only 30 inches (76 cm) wide. But that would be enough for the 28-foot-long (8.5 meters) Antarctic robot in its vertical cigar shape, 22 inches (56 centimeters) wide.

Once it gets in the water, it flattens and expands outward. It can collect images as well as physical, chemical and biological measurements of the ice, water and sediment below the shelf, and transmit them to the surface through a 2-mile-long (3 kilometer) cable.

Different boreholes will be used for each of the robot's visits, up to 10 days at a time, but scientists also hope to obtain a long-term view of the conditions below the ice shelf.
""We're going to leave a tethered profile that is going to profile the ocean water for a year to get an understanding of how the conditions change,"" Powell explained.
The robot could stay down almost indefinitely because it gets power from surface generators, rather than operating on its own battery power. But an indefinite stay would mean that something had gone very wrong, the researchers joked. Robotics engineers at DOER Marine of San Francisco designed a fail-safe for the robot in case of catastrophe. If the robot lost power, it would collapse hydraulically into its vertical form so that scientists could haul it up by the attached cable.

""That's the big headache for the engineers designing this, because we do want it back,"" Powell said.

Powell and Reed Scherer, another geologist at Northern Illinois in DeKalb, plan to take their robot out for a test dive in Lake Tahoe between California and Nevada in March 2011.
They will then undertake the long journey to Antarctica for testing around McMurdo Station in 2011 and 2012, before deploying the robot to investigate a lake below the Antarctic ice sheet around 2013. Finally, they will send the robot below the Ross Ice Shelf in 2013 or 2014.
The researchers hope that technology may have gotten good enough by then to stream high-definition video back to museums, so that visitors can get a real-time glimpse of the underwater exploration.



NASA Grant Supports Wildfire Research

2015-09-29
NASA Grant Supports Wildfire Research

Two Northwest Nazarene University assistant professors have been awarded a NASA grant to support their research on wildfire monitoring and assessment technology.
Assistant professor of computer science Dale Hamilton and associate professor of computer science Barry Myers weer awarded a NASA EPSCoR (experimental program to stimulate competitive research) Undergraduate Research Grant

RPAS Environmental Protection Demo in Wales

2015-09-25
RPAS Environmental Protection Demo in Wales

QinetiQ is to demonstrate the use of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) in tackling environmental issues in a one-week project on the Welsh coast in November 2015.

Lethal drones are the industry's latest headache

2015-09-21
Lethal drones are the industry's latest headache
Earlier this summer, a Connecticut man rigged a handgun to the top of an unmanned aircraft, posting a video of the device hovering in the woods and firing shots. The spectacle raised more concern about how consumers or law enforcement could wreak havoc with drones, a fast-growing technology with immense potential.

 FALCON  Internet for the Battlespace

2015-09-18
FALCON Internet for the Battlespace
The BAE Systems designed Falcon system gives the British Army and Royal Air Force a real advantage in the digital age. Falcon is a fully deployable, tactical communications system with an impressive ability to interface with a wide range of other systems. This means that voice, data and video information can now be shared securely across the battlespace using one common system.

Drones take flight at Husker Harvest Days

2015-09-16
Drones take flight at Husker Harvest Days
Farming and ranching is ready for takeoff.
Husker Harvest Days, an annual state fair of agricultural information and technology, launched its first demonstrations Tuesday of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones.

Drone hobbyists find flaws in "close call" reports to FAA from other aircraft

2015-09-14
Drone hobbyists find flaws in "close call" reports to FAA from other aircraft

Hobbyists who scrutinized reports to the FAA of alleged close calls with drones found that pilots reported near misses in only a small fraction of the cases, according to a study obtained by USA TODAY.

FAA Releases Updated Model Aircraft Guidance

2015-09-13
FAA Releases Updated Model Aircraft Guidance

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published updated guidance on model aircraft operations that reflects current law governing hobby or recreational use of unmanned aircraft.

Is Private Airspace Ownership Really Up in the Air?

2015-09-09
Is Private Airspace Ownership Really Up in the Air?
As I write this article, many of my colleagues in the commercial drone industry have focused their attention on the State of California and are anxiously waiting to see if the California Governor will sign or veto SB 142, which recently passed in the California legislature.

Farm drones expected to take off

2015-09-08
Farm drones expected to take off
Every week, an agronomist walks a portion of the 600 acres of crops at the Sunrise Acres dairy to gather information used to fight pests, weeds and other maladies that could threaten the harvest.
It’s a labor-intensive process repeated at farms throughout Wisconsin, and it’s one farmers say could soon become vastly more efficient thanks to drone technology.

Invisible Cloak for Military UAS

2015-09-04
Invisible Cloak for Military UAS
Scientists are working on creating a new design for a technology that redefines what the public views as imaginary. Inspired by the well-known Invisibility Cloak from Harry Potter, electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have created a new design for their cloaking device, using a Teflon substrate, studded with cylinders of ceramic, that is thinner than any prior development and does not alter the brightness of light around concealed objects.


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