500 km and counting
The end is nigh!
Challenger is now just under 500 km from the shores of Ascension, and just 130 km from leaving international waters for the last time on this mission. Over the past week or so, we have noted that she has had what seems to be a head current.
While the currents appear to have changed, Challenger is still making good time, flying over 21 km/ day. This leads us to believe that there may be a new cohort of barnacles causing drag once again resulting in the gliders calculation to think there is a head current. This may be problematic over the course of the next few weeks.
As we look at our schedule, our team will be arriving for the recovery of Challenger on the shores of Ascension, however if Challenger continues to keep up the pace (21 km/day) she should be in the area roughly a month ahead of the recovery team.
Because of this we are now weighing our options of way to pass the time until recovery. Two options that have come to mind thus far have been flying a circle around the island, keeping away from the fishing vessels; or revisiting the eddy sampling technique we tried near Madeira in spring of last year where we would fly a wind mill pattern through an eddy- effectively sampling its thermal structure. As of right now theses are just ideas we are discussing and there is always the option of stationkeeping for the remaining time, however that option is by far less fascinating
Force Wind Sea & Honor