Yellow submarine from B.C. helps unlock secrets of Antarctica
Published Wednesday, May 1, 2019 6:59PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 1, 2019 7:34PM PDT
A team from British Columbia has just returned from three months in Antarctica where they helped researchers dive deep under the ocean.
They used an automated underwater vehicle developed and built at International Submarine Engineering in Port Coquitlam. The yellow submarine is compared to a Mars Rover for the unexplored sea because it is programmed to venture out by itself.
“It’s a machine that you pre-program in advance," said senior technical adviser Jean-Marc Laframboise. “It goes in the water and it does its task without us intervening with it”.
One of the $3-million machines is being used by the University of Tasmania. Laframboise lent his expertise when researchers programmed the vessel to dive deep under Antarctica’s Sordals glacier. It collected information on the temperature of the water and the salt level.
University scientists hypothesize the glacier is melting not only from the top, but bottom too. It’s hoped data from the machine will help with that theory.
Laframboise admits sending an expensive machine off by itself can be nerve-wracking.
“But it’s not our first time,” he pointed out.
He says the mission was a success and now scientists are pouring over what a Canadian machine uncovered, where few have ever gone before.