Monday, August 23, 2010

To the Polarstern Expedition!

The Polarstern expedition has successfully sent an autonomous underwater vehicle below Arctic ice to aid climate research

"The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association for the first time sent its Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) on an under-ice mission at about 79° North. The four-metre-long, torpedo shaped underwater vehicle was deployed from the research icebreaker Polarstern under heavy pack ice. The vehicle was subsequently recovered by helicopter.

"We are one of the world's first working groups to have successfully carried out such an under-ice mission, a goal we have been working hard to achieve," says Dr. Thomas Soltwedel, the chief scientist of the expedition. "The samples and data obtained will shed a new light on phytoplankton production in the transition area between the permanently ice-covered Arctic Ocean and its ice-free marginal zone. Autonomous underwater vehicles are opening up new possibilities to investigate the ice-covered polar seas -- areas that are of pivotal importance in climate research."

-- reprinted from ScienceDaily

[Editor's Note: For the month of August, the 13.7 Billion Years "We'll Drink to That" Series presents a fine reason to raise a glass and make a toast. Fisehatak!]

image: Taking up of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) after a successful “under-ice” dive. (Credit: M. Wurst, AWI)

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