It's been a little while since our last post so I just want to update everyone on Challenger's progress.
Basically, she has been FLYING. After 32 days at sea, she has flown 800km, with most recent days clocking in at 28-30 km/day! At this rate we could be seeing the shores of Brazil by late April of 2014.
And her flight has been smooth as well. So far we are seeing no signs of biological interaction with this mission. She is completing 5 yos between 150 to 980 m every 14 hours like clock work. It seems, all of Dave's hard work of changing the duration of a segment between each surfacing to minimize surface time at night when the flying fish lay their eggs and the overall effort to avoid contact with barnacles is proving to pay off.
This week, we gave Challenger a new wp to the south west. After reaching the edge of the submarine ridge, we made the decision to now add a more southern component to our progress as we are now free of the potentially harmful bathymetry and magnetic presence. Another interesting fact that we have noticed as we progressed passed the ridge, is that the currents have ceased the oscillation we had encountered and have now returned to the steady north east flow from earlier in the mission.
Looking to Antonio's visualization of the myocean model via PINZON, the currents to the surface continue to flow in our favor to the south west towards South America, confirmed by the direction of our surface drift (blue vector in the second image below). However if we dive below that past 300m, the subsurface currents persist to the East/NorthEast. This subsurface resistance we believe will continue for some time, and so it is very important that we continue to avoid any biological hinderance as this will cause drag and slow us further.
As for now, Challenger is handling things like a champ and we will do our best to keep it that way.
Back at home, the semester is coming to a close and the students are preparing for their finals. On Tuesday, the students of the Ocean Observatories Class presented their semesters work to Dean Rich Luedescher.
This semester, over 45 students participated in 9 team projects each lead by an undergraduate mentor. Topics covered this fall ranged from future tracks of the Challenger Gliders, analysis of Hurricane impact on the Mid-Atlantic Bight to future collaborative efforts with the Korean research group KIOST.
To view the students presentations, view the classes website here
Force Wind Sea & Honor