Last night, ROV Tiburon's manipulator arm failed the in-water checks, and the decision was made to switch to an older, spare manipulator. In part because the spare arm is more difficult to use with its old-style control, or "master," the pilots resisted making the change until there was no other option. They worked on Tiburon until nearly midnight when unfortunately another problem occurred—this time with the main computer system. This kept them busy through lunch, and it wasn't clear whether we would dive at all today. Their incredible skill and hard work resulted in success by mid-afternoon, and Tiburon was put in the water for the final dive of the week. The goal was for the laser Raman spectrometer (LRS) to measure a sample of natural gas hydrate collected from the seafloor.
ROV Tiburon gets ready to dive.
Unfortunately, it appeared that something
was wrong with the LRS. Sheri
White and Bill
Kirkwood saw that the spectral sensitivity had greatly diminished.
They also noticed that the focus motor was not working properly, which was
necessary for these measurements. The LRS system was powered off, and this
part of the dive was finished. The science team soon decided that Tiburon
should be recovered, as was nearly time for the dive to end anyway so that
the R/V Western
Flyer could begin its transit back to La Paz.
The ship is underway now and should reach
La Paz by mid-afternoon tomorrow.
Bill Ussler analyzes a sample under the microscope.