Bot Day

6 12 2009

Today was Bot Day in McMurdo. Both this year and last, Team ENDURANCE has maintained a friendly rivalry with another underwater robotic vehicle doing Antarctic exploration. While ENDURANCE is a large vehicle outfitted with a slew of sensors, carries all its power on board, and is capable of maneuvering autonomously, the rival robot is remotely operated and powered, and has two video cameras as its only sensors but is thin enough to fit down a 10-inch drill hole. To highlight this last fact, it is dubbed SCINI (pronounced “skinny”), and team SCINI refers to ENDURANCE as “fatty” (they even came up with an acronym to make PHATTI, though none of us remembers what that was right now).

The SCINI vehicle in the test tank at MBARI (my old playing grounds while doing my thesis). Courtesy Stacey Kim, Moss Landing Marine Labs.

This afternoon, SCINI had an open house, where the McMurdo populace was invited to come down to a dive shack on the sea ice in front of town and watch the vehicle drive around. They even gave us a chance to drive it ourselves. I made a valiant effort to sabotage their vehicle by driving it into a rock, but was foiled because they had the power on the thrusters turned down, and the protective metal cage in front of the camera dome bounced off harmlessly.

Then tonight, Peter and Bill gave the Sunday Science Lecture on ENDURANCE. The lectures are open to the entire McMurdo community and are held in the Galley. It was pretty impressive to see all the work that we’ve done over the past 6 weeks—the past two years, in fact—summarized and displayed. The Galley was full, and there were a lot of interesting questions. The lecture was recorded, and should be viewable on the McMurdo Station server in a few days.

The awesome poster we got made to advertise the Sunday Night Science Lecture. That's Bill Stone doing Slim Pickens.

Tomorrow, Peter, Chris, Shilpa and I pack our bags and get ready to leave for New Zealand on Tuesday. The remaining team stays for another five days and prepares ENDURANCE and all accompanying cargo for shipment back to the US.



4 responses

6 12 2009

So spiteful of you! πŸ˜‰

7 12 2009
Maria Richmond

I again, agree with Ayca!!! πŸ™‚

8 12 2009

Lovely poster, btw. Did you make the picture especially for it or a coincidence?

9 12 2009

John Priscu made the suggestion, Bill Stone performed the action, Peter Doran took the picture, and we all knew it had to go on the poster. A textbook example of how co-investigators should run their projects..

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