Dr. Deborah Kelley: Remote Planning for Dives
So within the control room at the University of Washington, we had three different panels set up that were bringing in imagery from the ship. We could talk to this ship and ask them which images to bring in. And we also got to see the pre-dive and post-dive operations and so some of the things we saw during that time period were the vehicles sitting on the deck getting ready to go in. And it gave us some kind of breathing room to prepare for the next dive.
For planning out each of the dives, we'd try to get most of the science party to meet during the day. It was an interesting interaction because things evolved very rapidly so we would... there were usually at least 12 people in the room and everyone had different expertise and so one of the nice things was that we could talk about the images that we were seeing in real-time. We had geologists, biologists, fluid chemists, and so we could interact and plan out a kind of evolution of the dive. What we hoped during the dive and also how to evolve during the entire period.
So some of the things that are important in planning out the dives is number 1, knowing where you are; knowing where the vehicle is and planning out the routes the vehicles are going to ride around. On one of the main images we had coming in continuously was a map of the field, a very detailed map that was produced at meter resolution with an autonomous vehicle on the cruise. So we use those mapping images a lot and actually one of the nice things about this program was we actually had the navigation of the vehicle in real-time so from 4,500 miles away we had images coming in of the base map we were working on or the typography basically and then we would have a little symbol that showed us where both Hercules and Argus were; and the ships. So we used that a lot.
One of the challenges there is when you're working in an area where there's chimneys that are 200 feet tall and two vehicles on a tether, the last thing you want to get is the vehicles wrapped around the chimneys. So we spent a lot of time looking at the maps figuring out the best and easiest directions with interacting with the pilots and doing that.
Other data that we had coming in we had a lot of the images coming in we used those on different monitoring screens. And then we had images... a lot of data coming in about the heading of the vehicle, how high it was off the bottom which could be very useful for getting around.
For the dives we initially had planned to have very, very long dives; to have the vehicle down as long as possible; could be several days. For this program it didn't quite work out that way and we ended up having usually a dive a day. Where we'd go down, take a lot of images, we were gifted... we were very lucky to have such a remarkable video with the high definition images we got from both Hercules and Argus. A lot of time we were... what the chimneys look like provides a lot of information to us about how they form. We spent a lot of time imaging and so a lot of the discussion inside the control room was basically trying to figure out what we were looking at and then based on that where we would sample.