We’re in the Water!

1 11 2009

Woohoo! We finally managed to get ENDURANCE in the water. It was still naked, and couldn’t go in very far, but we’ve gotten the ‘bot wet.

The hole was still slightly too small for ENDURANCE to fit in when we got to the ‘bothouse this morning. So we spent some more time with the Hotsies melting away the ice.

Bill and Bart Discuss Hole Size

Bill and Bart at the moon pool discussing the size of the melthole and how to place the Hotsy melt fingers.


Later in the afternoon, we finally decided that ENDURANCE would be able to fit in, at least far enough to get underwater and test for leaks and basic sensor functioning. We weren’t planning on putting the syntactic flotation, just have the frame hanging from the crane we use to pull ENDURANCE in and out of the moon pool. This gave us a little more wiggle room, but even so, it was a tight fit.
Me and Naked ENDURANCE

Me looking up briefly from watching ENDURANCE as it enters Lake Bonney for the first time this year.


We carefully wrangled ENDURANCE into the hole, carefully checking all around that it wasn’t hitting any of the remaining knobs of ice that hadn’t been fully melted away (we actually kept the Hotsies running and in the water for the whole process). Finally, ENDURANCE was submerged!
ENDURANCE in the Water, Naked

ENDURANCE fully submerged for the first time this year.


We left the ‘bot in the water for about half and hour. Our leak detection system reported all pressure housings were sealed. We even ran the profiling system to pay out the sonde, and it worked great. There was one problem in getting back pictures from the camera on the sonde, but the remaining 200+ subsystems and sensors on board all came up nominal. At least we’ll have something to work on tomorrow. 🙂

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5 responses

2 11 2009
Maria Richmond

Great! Good luck for tomorrow!

2 11 2009
Maria Richmond

PS both Papa and I check your blog every day!

2 11 2009
Beth Steger (Emma's Mom)

Finally the bot got wet. Skinny dipping in Antarctica that crazy bot. You all

work so hard under these tough conditions. So excited it worked under the

water. Cool pics. Beth

3 11 2009
Linda Anderson

Hello–This is such a fascinating project and your photos and comments make it all come to life. So I’m very thankful that my neighbor and your sister, Anja, gave me the address of your blog while we were both snowed in, so I could follow along. Will the results of your research be summarized in a format for the general public? I’ll come back to read your blog often, And keep the sunsets coming!

3 11 2009
kristofrichmond

National Geographic is in the process of putting together a one-hour program about ENDURANCE and how it fits into the larger context of robotic exploration. This will contain footage of our trip last year. I’ll post an update when we get information on when it might be playing.
As for the sunsets, they are no more down here. Not until sometime in February, that is.

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