The Yellow Submarine: Boaty McBoatface Set Off To First Antartic Mission [VIDEO]By Anne Collins, UniversityHerald Reporter
Boaty McBoatface, the yellow submarine, is set for its first mission to Antarctica this week. The robot is going to map the movement of deep waters during the science expedition which plays a critical role in regulating the Earth's climate.
A public poll had suggested the name Boaty McBoatface to be given to the UK's first remote-controlled and unmanned $300 million exploration polar research vessel according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. There is more than one Boaty as the name covers a trio of vehicles.
On Friday, Boaty will head out of Punta Arenas, Chile, aboard the RRS James Clark Ross. The JCR will drop the sub into the Orkney passage, a narrow, 3,500m-deep gap in an underwater ridge extending northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Boaty will survey conditions in the passage. Scientific moorings have already gathered data, but Boaty's mobility and autonomy can now build a full, 3D picture of what's happening hundreds of meters below the surface.
Scientists have good evidence that the bottom-water is warming. It is unclear why but it may have major implications said Professor Mike Meredith from British Antarctic Survey. The sea-level rises because the water warms and expands. As the water has been getting warmer it may have significant consequences for the animals.
This recorded warming may be due to the change in the way the deep current is moving through the passage. Boaty will have a probe on its nose to assess if there is a greater turbulence in bottom-water flows. This will help better understand how the water changes.
The two robots in Southampton are being prepared for other expeditions to help cover a much wider range of environments and geographic locations said Professor Russell Wynn, from NOC.
BBC reported Wynn said while one robot vehicle is going to Antarctica and surveying around and under the ice, another might go to the deepest parts of the ocean, down to 6km. The third vehicle might go to the North Sea.
The Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow (DynOPO) expedition is a collaboration between BAS, the University of Southampton and NOC.