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The Newest Arctic Explorers

The Newest Arctic Explorers

Puma and Jaguar are autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) designed to overcome the technical challenges that have long precluded scientific exploration in the deep reaches of the Arctic Ocean. Puma has sonar and other sensors designed to search wide areas for temperature, chemical, or turbidity signals from hydrothermal vent plumes (the green laser detects particulates in the water), tracking them back to their seafloor origins. Jaguar then will be deployed to hover with camera and lighting systems and high-resolution sonar for close-up imaging and mapping. Both vehicles will be put to the test in July and August 2007, when WHOI researchers lead an international expedition to the Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean. (Illustration by E. Paul Oberlander, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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