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Phoning home

Phoning home

Engineer Jim Valdes observes a SOLO (Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangian Observer) float's response to commands in a test tank facility. Autonomous instruments that drift with the currents while measuring ocean temperature and salinity at various depths, floats such as this Iridium SOLO float are programmed to come to the ocean surface at regular intervals to transmit their data and position to orbiting satellites. While at the surface they can also receive commands to reprogram their mission. They can measure ocean conditions while at sea on missions lasting four to five years. This provides oceanographers with a wealth of real-time data, often from remote regions of the world’s oceans.
(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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