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Underwater Vehicles


Welcome home, Alvin!

Alvin is the world’s longest-operating deep-sea submersible. It was launched in 1964 and has made more than 4,700 dives, along the way participating in some of the most iconic discoveries in the deep ocean. Throughout 2011, 2012, and into 2013, Alvin received a comprehensive overhaul and upgrade funded by the National Science Foundation that greatly expanded its capabilities and will eventually put almost the entire ocean floor within its reach.

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360˚ Video: Deploying Mesobot

You’re on deck as the stealthy underwater robot Mesobot makes another trip into the ocean twilight zone to test equipment that will help scientists track bits of “environmental DNA” floating in the water.

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Opening our eyes to the deep: Molly Curran

Molly Curran is a mechanical engineer in WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory. She works on the design and operation of deep-sea robotic systems, including remotely operated vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and deep-sea samplers. She was the institution’s first pilot for Mesobot, WHOI’s latest autonomous robot designed to study the midwater realm known as the ocean twilight zone.

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ROV Jason captures underwater video during earthquake

In January and February 2020, scientists on R/V Atlantis explored hydrothermal vents on the Cayman Rise. They used the remotely operated vehicle Jason to get an up-close view of the vents and life around them. The vents lie on a seismically active part of the seafloor known as a mid-ocean ridge. Deep-sea shrimp swarm the vents, feeding on microbes that live on chemicals flowing from the vents. While they were there, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck just 100 miles away. Scientists will now be able to study how seismic activity affects hydrothermal vents and the life around them.

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Holiday Dive

Alvin

Happily working through the holidays: Alvin, shown here at the vent site more than 2000 meters (1.25 miles) below the surface being piloted by Alvin program manager Bruce Strickrott.

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Nereid Under Ice explores Aurora hydrothermal vent field

nereid under ice vehicle

The newly upgraded Nereid Under Ice, a hybrid remotely operated vehicle, is deployed from the Norwegian Icebreaker KronPrins Haakon to conduct its first deep ocean dives to 4,000 meters (over 13,000 feet) along the Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean.

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Autonomous Robotic Boats Improve Environmental Sampling at Sea

Sci Tech Daily

An autonomous robotic system invented by researchers at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) efficiently sniffs out the most scientifically interesting — but hard-to-find — sampling spots in vast, unexplored waters.

The Rise of Orpheus

orpheus

WHOI’s new deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle moves one step closer to exploring the hadal zone—the deepest region of the ocean—to search for new clues about the limits of life on Earth, and possibly beyond.

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How Cheap Robots Are Transforming Ocean Exploration

Outside Magazine

For researchers, affordable tech opens up new worlds. “Your decision process is fundamentally different when you can use cheaper tools,” says Jim Bellingham, director of the Center for Marine Robotics at WHOI.

The hive mind behind a swarm of submersibles

The vastness of our oceans demands extensive study methods. Erin Fischell, an assistant scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, has been experimenting with a swarm of autonomous underwater vehicles that aim to both minimize cost and maximize the scope of scientific assessment at sea.

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The Rise of Orpheus (Part 2)

orpheus

WHOI’s new deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle moves one step closer to exploring the hadal zone—the deepest region of the ocean—to search for new clues about the limits of life on Earth, and possibly beyond.

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Lightning Deployment

The Sentry Team and deck crew on the research vessel Atlantis had to move quickly in order to launch the autonomous underwater vehicle between squalls off the West Coast recently.

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Extraordinary Footage of Octopus Garden

Need a break? Sit back, relax, and enjoy this stunning and calming underwater footage from Octopus Garden, two miles below the ocean’s surface in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), where thousands of mother octopuses were discovered nursing their eggs. Meditative soundtrack included.

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Diving to Octopus Garden in a Submarine

Check out this amazing footage taken from WHOI’s submersible Alvin in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), where thousands of mother octopuses were discovered nursing their eggs in a place known as Octopus Garden. WHOI principal engineer Andy Bowen talks with Chad King, a research specialist with MBNMS, about the animals and how federally-protected marine sanctuaries are critical to the health and protection of these incredible ecosystems.

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Discover Octopus Garden

Watch this amazing footage and learn some cool facts about octopus living two miles below the ocean’s surface, where thousands of mother octopuses were discovered nursing their eggs in a place known as Octopus Garden in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS).

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