Archive for June 23rd, 2011

Sentinel 1 & Challenger 1

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

An historic day.

Today, June 23, 2011, is the first day at sea for the growing global partnership that has just embarked on the first phase of the Challenger Mission.  Followers from previous missions will know the history. It began on December 9, 2009, in Baiona, Spain, at the landfall celebration for RU27, the first underwater glider to cross an ocean basin. Rick Spinrad challenged the U.S.-Spanish partnership to go back to sea. To build even longer duration gliders.  To entrain even more partners and schools.  And to revisit the historic track of the H.M.S. Challenger, the first circumnavigation of the globe for science.

So today, after spending 2010 supporting the U.S. response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we are back at sea on another long-duration mission of discovery.  This glider, owned by Teledyne Webb Research, is our first long-duration test flight in preparation for the globally coordinated mission we hope someday will include about 15 gliders simultaneously covering different segments of the H.M.S. Challenger's track.

This time we have chosen a difficult route.  Instead of our usual east-west route where we remain in temperate waters, we are flying north-south from arctic to tropical waters. Our path is from Iceland to the Canaries, a distance of about 4,000 km.

Another difference this time - the students are distributed around the globe. They are stationed in Spain with Carlos, Antonio or Enrique, with us in the U.S., or with our new partners in Australia. Through student exchange programs, they are now visiting each other's labs. Most of the pathplanning and blog entries for the next several months will come straight from these students, some of whom are now veterans of up to 4 previous long-duration missions.

A memorable moment in 2009 was when the student glider pilots chose Baiona, Spain for Ru27's landfall. Their choice was based on Baiona's history as the port where the Pinta first returned in 1493.  We were especially pleased when the students chose to nickname the present glider Challenger 1.  The name is a reference back to Hank Stommel's science fiction story on the global Slocum Mission,

where the first glider deployed by the students in the attic of the Bigelow Building in Woods Hole was named Sentinel 1.

So today, with this launch, the global mission envisioned by Hank Stommel, invigorated by Rick Spinrad, and made possible by Teledyne Webb Research, has begun. We hope you enjoy the ride.

The Bear is About!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Hey all,

First of all, we would just like to thank Scott and Oscar for the great dedicatory post from yesterday.  Second, this morning we received the email from our friends up in Iceland telling us the glider is now in the water.  At 1pm (9am in NJ), Ben Allsup of Teledyne sent us the email "The Bear is About" indicating the glider has entered the water.  The deployment crew consisted of Chris DeCollibus from Teledyne Webb Research, Alvaro Lorenzo from PLOCAN, and Arnar Steingrimsson of Teledyne Gavia.  They left from Grindavik, Iceland this morning and went about 10km south in the ship Oddur V Gislason.

After reaching an area where the depths came to about 130 meters, Challenger 1 was deployed and began running its test missions.  The first of which was a single dive to 100 meters and the second being a 4 dive mission expecting to take close to 4 hrs.  If these tests go well, the glider will be left in the water and will begin its journey south to the Canaries.  Our friends at Teledyne will be maintaining control of the glider through the weekend to make sure everything is in order, but next week they will be handed over to our team here at Rutgers.


Change of plans!!!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Hey everyone! Just a quick update: the ocean weather for the long-term forecast is looking pretty stormy, so we're pushing the glider deployments to THIS SUNDAY! We'll be going out early Sunday morning (June 26) to deploy the 2 Seagliders for long-duration missions (about 5 months) that we'll be using the data from for our research, and doing some day-long tests on 2 other Seagliders (we will recover those at the end of the day). We will also be rendezvousing with U209, the Slocum glider we deployed a couple weeks ago, to make an adjustment to the science sensors.

We'll be going out to Perth Canyon, about 36 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia.

We'll have another blog shortly after the deployments, once the gliders are well under control and on their way!

Dave & Shannon