Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Generation Deep Ocean Vehicle Begins Science Operations for U.S. Researchers

06.11.2002


JASON II reaches most of the world ocean floor and sends data ashore via the Internet


JASON II launch. Photo by Dan Fornari, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.



A new generation of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of routine operation to depths of 6,500 meters (21,320 feet) and communicating its data back to shore via the Internet has been developed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The vehicle, JASON II, recently completed its first science cruise off the coast of Washington and Oregon and is currently at sea in the Pacific working off the coast of Hawaii.

The $2.5 million project to build JASON II and upgrade its companion vehicles, the imaging system Argo II and the DSL-120 side scan sonar system, began in 2000. All three systems, designed and built by WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory, are part of the U.S. National Deep Submergence Facility operated by WHOI for the U.S. ocean sciences community. The facility, the only one in the nation, includes the three-person submersible Alvin as well as the tethered vehicles and provides scientific access to the deep sea for researchers from many disciplines, including biology, geology, and chemistry.


Funds for the JASON II project were provided by the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and The W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles, CA. The combination of federal and private funds enabled WHOI to significantly enhance the manipulative, sampling, thrust and payload capabilities of the original JASON, built in the late 1980s and capable of reaching 6,000 meters (19,680 feet) depth, and enabled major upgrades to the fiber optic telemetry, control and power systems of all the vehicles. The funds also enabled the Institution to integrate existing vehicle data systems and control displays into a web-based system through the use of SeaNet. SeaNet extends Internet capabilities to oceanographic research vessels using a variety of wireless communication links. The $1 million grant from the Keck Foundation was used to purchase the new components of JASON II and equipped the ROV and other tethered systems with the SeaNet remote-data communication and visualization system to send images and data ashore to researchers via the Internet. The Keck funds also suuported the development of the JASON II virtual control van, a software system designed to extend capabilities of the actual control van at sea to researchers ashore. These are the first vehicles in the U.S. using the SeaNet system.

Construction of JASON II began in 2001 and was completed this summer. Dock trials were held in Woods Hole in June and July, followed by a short test cruise at sea in late July. The first fully operational science cruise for JASON II was successfully completed in September aboard WHOI’s Research Vessel Atlantis. The Institution’s Deep Submergence Laboratory is also working with British colleagues from the Southampton Oceanography Center to build a vehicle similar to JASON II for their research use, to be called ISES. The two vehicles were developed in parallel, with major new components tested first on JASON II.

"JASON II is a state-of-the-art facility and will have a profound impact on how scientists access and study the oceans, which comprise 70 percent of our planet," WHOI Vice President for Marine Operations Richard Pittenger said. "Over the past ten years ROVs and tethered vehicles have altered the paradigm of deep-sea research, providing major contributions to the understanding of many seafloor and deep earth processes. On its very first science cruise, JASON II has already proven its value to the research community, and we expect it will contribute significantly to the complex science programs proposed for the next decade and provide a new scientific approach to the exploration of the deep sea. We have just begun to tap the capabilities of this new research vehicle."

The flexibility and endurance of ROVs and tethered systems like Argo II and DSL-120 allow scientists to work in new ways and dramatically increase productivity. They can remain on the ocean floor for days at a time, sending back images and data 24 hours a day to a team of researchers on the surface ship. The SeaNet system allows the data collected to be distributed over the Internet, enabling scientists ashore to become involved in real-time analysis and decision-making about operations at sea hundreds or thousands of miles away. These vehicles also provide backup search and survey capability to the United States Navy in times of national need, and act as engineering research and development platforms for advances in control techniques and sensor technology being pursued at WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory.

"It is all about sampling and manipulation," says Andrew Bowen, project manager for the JASON II vehicle and a member of WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory. "We have been able to put into practice a lot of the things we have learned from ten years of operating JASON. We basically took the best of that vehicle, which worked very well, and took advantage of developments in technology in the past few years to design and build a much more capable system."

Bowen notes that like its predecessor, JASON II has high quality still and video cameras, but they are now digital, and many more environmental sensors. JASON II has far more power to support lights and other systems, increased maneuverability through its thrusters, and much more sampling capacity. Each of the two new manipulators on the vehicle are capable of picking up 150 pounds each and reaching twice as far as the original vehicle’s single manipulator, which could pick up 25 pounds.

"Essentially every system on the new vehicle has been upgraded from the original, making this an extremely capable vehicle, Bowen adds. "Given the success of our first cruise, scientists are very excited about using the vehicle. That is a very different reaction from what we encountered with the original vehicle so many years ago, but a very welcome and positive sign for the future."

Bowen notes that a lot has changed since JASON was developed in the late 1980s. "We had to build our own fiber optic telemetry system back then because it didn’t exist anywhere else. A lot of the systems were new, and we were facing not only the use of new technology but science users cautious about an unproven tool. Now, the users know how successful JASON was and are learning how much more capable JASON II is. The process has been much easier this time around."

JASON extensively explored and photographed deep-sea hydrothermal vents along the mid-ocean ridge, surveyed and imaged ancient shipwrecks, installed permanent ocean floor observatories, and advanced the field of deep sea forensics with detailed surveys of sunken commercial ships. After participating in dozens of varied and historic expedition around the world JASON was retired in 2001. JASON II will expand many of the scientific programs in these and other areas.

"The original JASON played a significant role in gaining acceptance by the oceanographic research community of remotely operated vehicles as a general science tool," says Bowen. "That was not the case in the late 1980s, when scientists were very skeptical that an ROV had the capabilities to do the work they needed. It was something new, and it took a while to prove its worth. JASON is a good example of how science adapts to new tools. Now, ROVS are accepted and scientists recognize the value of the tool and give us the opportunity to use it, and of course they are already demanding more improvement, more capability. This technology does not stand still."

Shelley Dawicki | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.whoi.edu/marops/vehicles/jason/index.html
http://www.whoi.edu/
http://www.soc.soton.ac.uk/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>