Categories: world

NASA launches a submarine to look for life in the ocean's mysterious depths

Diving to the sea bottom is probably more difficult than rocking into space. Hundreds of astronauts have left the earth, but you can count the people who have visited the sea at the bottom of one side: James Cameron, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh. Because of this we do not know much about what is happening in the deepest parts of the sea, especially in the hell-shaped home area which is 6,000 to 11,000 meters (3.7-6.8 miles) below the surface . Although 45% of the world's oceans are in that zone, that part of the planet has been a mystery to us earth dwellers. date. Researchers from NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have joined a $ US2.2 million privately funded effort to investigate, design and build a new robot to explore the honorable zone. The group named the new drone Orpheus after the mythical Greek hero who was deaf to the depths of hell and serenade Hades, the king of the underworld. Researchers hope that in the same way, this Orpheus will one day find new bottom-living marine life and snap photos of deep-sea life. "They are almost completely unexplored and it is a very very harmless environment to explore" NASA robot engineer John Leichty, who helped construct and build the Orpheus drone, told Business Insider. "But there are many creatures living there." Diving it deep is difficult. Researchers at the WHOI believed that their Nereus deep-sea vehicles could get there in 201 4, but the remote-controlled machine…

Diving to the sea bottom is probably more difficult than rocking into space.

Hundreds of astronauts have left the earth, but you can count the people who have visited the sea at the bottom of one side: James Cameron, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh.

Because of this we do not know much about what is happening in the deepest parts of the sea, especially in the hell-shaped home area which is 6,000 to 11,000 meters (3.7-6.8 miles) below the surface .

Although 45% of the world’s oceans are in that zone, that part of the planet has been a mystery to us earth dwellers.

date.

Researchers from NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have joined a $ US2.2 million privately funded effort to investigate, design and build a new robot to explore the honorable zone.

The group named the new drone Orpheus after the mythical Greek hero who was deaf to the depths of hell and serenade Hades, the king of the underworld. Researchers hope that in the same way, this Orpheus will one day find new bottom-living marine life and snap photos of deep-sea life.

“They are almost completely unexplored and it is a very very harmless environment to explore” NASA robot engineer John Leichty, who helped construct and build the Orpheus drone, told Business Insider. “But there are many creatures living there.”

Diving it deep is difficult. Researchers at the WHOI believed that their Nereus deep-sea vehicles could get there in 201

4, but the remote-controlled machine was lost about six miles below sea level after just six weeks of exploration. So for this project, engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (like Leichty) borrow one hand.

Their goal is to create a drone submersible so small and so easy that one day they will be able to shoot it in space to explore other oceans. Orpheus is the first step in that direction.

“It’s the big, big, big, big, big, big grandma of the vehicle that can go to Europe” WHOI biologist Tim Shank, who leads Hadex

An initial test of drone submarine

Orpheus drone is about the size of a backyard grill and weighs 600 pounds.

The team completed the first unfinished, autonomous test of the new drone in September, just off Cape Cod Bay. The robot went 176 meters (about 577 feet) below the surface, which is still far above the home zone, so it is clear that Orpheus is not ready for prime time yet.

“There is a lot of work that we need to do to improve autonomy in order to carry out more complex tasks,” says Leichty. It is especially true when it comes to navigating underwater and ensuring that “do not go into things,” he added.

Orpheus is equipped with four Go-Pro-like cameras (with flashes), both to help the vehicle navigate on its own and to capture the landscape.

“I guess a good analogy is maybe how with your phone, you can take a panoramic picture,” Leichty said. “We try to do the same, but at the bottom of the sea.”

OceanX / Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the fund’s principal, released new video of the search on Wednesday:

Under 577 feet of deep test dive, Leichty said, Orpheus’ cameras glanced a few “crab-like “and” tubular “creatures. The WHOI team also combined 40 images of the ocean floor that Orpheus captured to create a 3-D mosaic.

Communications from the earth’s surface can take longer to reach the seabed than the moon. So the Orpheus drone is completely autonomous – when it itself decides to get up in the air, it releases a couple of steel weights that fall to the seabed, which means that the machine can float up to the surface. Ideally, the drone will do this when it has completed its mission or if it is time out.

“Hopefully it goes and goes, does its mission and then returns to the surface and tells where to get it,” says Leichty.

If something goes wrong, the roads on the vehicle are designed to [19659000]]

5c6c640d1631a34c27214e95 1200 “width =” 933 “style =” width: 100%; ” /> (Julian Race for OceanX / Bloomberg Philanthropies)

Search for new types of life on earth and in space

In the Oral Zone, where Orpheus will one day travel if everything goes to plan, the pressure can reach 16,000 pounds per square inch (psi), which is more than a thousand times the sea level pressure (14.7 psi).

It’s not a place NASA has tended to care much about it past – “NASA doesn’t really do ocean exploration,” says Leichty – but the pressure at the bottom of Earth’s oceans happens to be remarkably similar to the press of Jupiter’s tantalizingly water y moon, europe. for life to exist right now, not just maybe in the past, ” said Leichty.

It does The Jovian moon is a mature place to look for aliens.

But before a mission to Europe ever becomes possible, scientists must learn to recognize and observe life forms that can thrive at such pressure, so that scientists do not end up ignoring an unknown sign of life that is right in front of the eyes. The ability to recognize living creatures at the bottom of the ocean – the other worldly animals that thrive in long, narrow sea graves – is one of Shank’s greatest concerns.

“How did diggers come?” Shank wonders. “Did life start in the excavations and then migrated from the excavations? Or did it migrate in digs and caught there and stay there?”

Deep Sea Detector

Many of the places on Earth that Orpheus’ team want the drone to explore are near the planet’s subduction zones, where areas of the seabed are subdued during continental chimney and lava flows.

Submarine volcanoes are much more common than outbreaks on land and sizzling underwater outlets spread up in areas where lava churns, creating an environment where life can thrive. Scientists do not realize that these vents existed until 1977.

Shank is convinced that the team will find never before seen microbes in areas near these deep-sea valves. This can lead to the development of new antibiotics and other drugs, as well as new ways of thinking about the necessary conditions for life.

Orpheus is designed to be a kind of ocean floor detector in such areas; It is equipped with sensors to detect methane, hydrogen sulfide and helium, which are all promising ingredients for life.

“Animals such as worms and clams, clams and shrimps and snails love hydrogen sulfide,” Shank said. [19659002] Unlike other underwater vehicles, Orpheus is designed to sit just on the seabed and sniff out these creatures.

“Then it will get off the seabed and, like a grasshopper, land somewhere else,” said Shank.

Eventually, the plan is that Orpheus will be united with a fleet of other large-size drones. Shank referred to this as an “armada” and said that about 20 drones would sneak around the deepest corners of the world’s oceans for hydrogen sulphide clouds, then zero in on them, land and snap photos.

“These areas will be the next that will change how we think about how life can exist on earth – or any other planetary body,” he said.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

More from Business Insider:

Share
Published by
Faela