Recovering the Benthic Rover
June 17, 2013
The weather models predicted today to be the calmest of our cruise, so today we recovered the Rover. Like the Mars Rover, the deep-sea Rover II is a self-driving tank that stops at planned intervals to run experiments on its environment. The Rover takes pictures of the seafloor and measures the oxygen respiration of bacteria and small animals living in the sediment. Because the weather was calm, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Doc Ricketts dove and worked on the seafloor remotely while the engineers downloaded the data and performed maintenance on the Rover.
As with any ship work, it’s essential to make the most of the available working space. After the Doc Ricketts came up, we had to process the cores of deep-sea sediment collected by the ROV on the seawater tables, but also make sure there was plenty of clean, dry space for working on the Rover. Before starting processing cores and running water over big chunks of mud in the sieves, we put up a plastic divider between the benches so no mud could splash over to the electronics.