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1999 Projects

Current Projects

Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) Benthic processes
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) Midwater research
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) Upper ocean biogeochemistry
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) New research platforms
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) ROV improvements
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) Mooring improvements
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) New in-situ Instruments
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) Information management and archiving
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) Education and outreach
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) 1998 Projects
Green_Ball.gif (257 bytes) 1997 Projects


1999 Projects: ROV improvements

Benthic elevator

Project lead/manager: Steve Etchemendy
Project team: James Barry, T. Craig Dawe, and Chris Grech

As MBARI uses ROVs to perform increasingly more difficult and time-consuming operations on or near the ocean bottom, the finite payload capacity of the ROV becomes the limiting factor in many science missions. Two concepts that could be exploited for overcoming this limitation are free-fall delivery of instrument packages to the seafloor (analogous to parachute drops), and free-ascent transport of payloads to the sea surface (analogous to launching instruments into the upper atmosphere using balloons).

The "benthic elevator" would be a joint application of both concepts, utilizing a combination of glass-sphere floats for buoyancy in ascents, and a drop-weight that could be released acoustically, or by an ROV, for initiating descents. The "elevator" would be released from the ship to the ocean floor with the drop-weight hanging far enough below the structure to hit bottom first and allow the floated portion of the elevator above to decelerate before impacting the bottom. The cargo bay of the benthic elevator would carry equipment down to an ROV for deployment, or it could be used to transport samples up to the surface following release of the drop-weight for a free ascent. This arrangement would accommodate larger science packages than currently can be handled solely by the ROV. It would also allow a much greater sampling capacity per dive, since the ROV could load samples into the elevator for transport to the surface in addition to loading its sample drawers.

Next: Ventana manipulator upgrade

Last updated: 07 October 2004