Posted on 18.03.2008 - 08:00 UTC in AUV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links
After four years of design and construction, WHOI's new deep-sea exploration vehicle Nereus took its first plunge in deeper waters during a test cruise in December 2007 off the Waianae coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Nereus is the first underwater vehicle designed with dual capabilities.
It can operate as an autonomous, free-swimming vehicle to fly on pre-programmed missions over wide areas, mapping the seafloor, gathering data on the oceans, and searching for specific research targets. But then engineers can convert it within a few hours into a tethered vehicle connected via a hair-thin, 25-mile long cable, which enables scientists on the surface ship to receive real-time video images and send instant commands to maneuver the vehicle and its mechanical arm for close-up investigations and sample gathering. Nereus
can also work in the deepest parts of the ocean, from 6,500 meters to 11,000 meters (21,500 feet to 36,000 feet), a depth currently unreachable for routine ocean research. After more testing and development, the goal is to aim Nereus
to explore the deepest known waters on the planet-Challenger Deep, a trench in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Guam. The trench is deeper than Mount Everest is high, extending almost 11,000 meters (36,000 feet) beneath the sea surface.
Photo by Tim Shank, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution