An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A small yellow robot submarine, called Boaty McBoatface after a competition to name a new polar research ship backfired, is being sent on its first Antarctic mission. Boaty, which has arguably one of the most famous names in recent maritime history, is a new type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which will be able to travel under ice, reach depths of 6,000 meters, and transmit the data it collects to researchers via a radio link. Its mission will be to investigate water flow and turbulence in the dark depths of the Orkney Passage, a 3.5km deep region of the Southern Ocean. The data it collects will help scientists understand how the ocean is responding to global warming. Boaty will travel with the DynOPO (Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow) expedition on the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research ship James Clark Ross, departing from Punta Arenas in Chile on 17 March. The craft will be sent back and forth through a cold abyssal current that forms an important part of the global circulation of ocean water. In 2019 Boaty McBoatface will be fitted with acoustic and chemical sensors and sent into the North Sea to “sniff out” signals associated with the artificial release of gas beneath the seabed. A future aim for Boaty will be to attempt the first-ever crossing of the Arctic Ocean under ice, which has the potential to deliver a significant change in scientists’ ability to observe change in this vital region.
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