Saturday, April 2, 2011
Roomba's seagoing sister
Seagliders are underwater robots made by the company iRobot, the same company that makes the Roomba (you know, that vacuum cleaner that zooms around your house all by itself while you aren’t home)! Well, the company may be the same, but these gliders are not out there cleaning up the Pacific Garbage patch or anything. (That would be cool, though wouldn’t it?!) Instead of cleaning, these gliders are actually out there taking oceanographic measurements. They dive down to about 1000 meters and then back up to the surface, measuring temperature and salinity along the way. Gliders dive for about 8 hours at a time. When they come to the surface they stick their tail up in the air (the tail is an antenna) to communicate with a satellite. They get their latitude and longitude position from GPS and then they send back the temperature and salinity data that they collected during the dive. While they are at the surface the Seaglider pilots can also tell them where to go on the next dive.
The University of Hawaii put out four Seagliders in November and now Lora is here to pick them all up and bring them back to Hawaii. We have just one more to pick up, Seaglider 513. We are tracking it while we are out here at sea, so we know exactly where it is. When we take a break from recovering moorings, we will go out and grab it! You can follow it too, if you’d like. Check out the glider web page at: http://hahana.soest.hawaii.edu/seagliders/history513.html