Our 3-phased approach to ocean exploration with ABE.  First, guided by chemical measurements made aboard ship, we program ABE to fly around within the water column 'sniffing' for where the chemical signals are strongest using specialist in situ sensors.  Second, once we know where the strongest chemical signals from a hydrothermal vent are, we program ABE to fly closer to the seafloor, making detailed maps of the seabed and, ideally, also intercepting the stems of hot buoyant hydrothermal plumes of water rising up above the seafloor.  Third, and finally, we program ABE up once more to descend to right above the seabed and drive to and fro, very carefully — using obstacle avoidance techniques to stop it crashing into the rough rocky terrain it finds — while taking photographs of whatever it is we have found: hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and whatever new and unique animals they might host.

Our three-phased approach to ocean exploration with ABE. First, guided by chemical measurements made aboard ship, we program ABE to fly around within the water column “sniffing” for where the chemical signals are strongest using specialist in situ sensors. Second, once we know where the strongest chemical signals from a hydrothermal vent are, we program ABE to fly closer to the seafloor, making detailed maps of the seabed and, ideally, intercepting the stems of hot, buoyant, hydrothermal plumes of water rising up above the seafloor. Third, and finally, we program ABE up once more to descend right above the seabed and drive carefully to and fro — using obstacle avoidance techniques to stop it from crashing into the rough rocky terrain it finds — while taking photographs of whatever it is we have found: hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and NY new and unique animals they might host. Photo courtesy of Christopher German.

Related Links

INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010

INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010: Deep, Dark and Ready for Exploration

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery