Remotely Operated Vehicle Hercules

Remotely operated vehicle Hercules suspended during launch. Image courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust/Nautilus Live.

Remotely operated vehicle Hercules mid-launch. Image courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust/Nautilus Live. Download larger version (jpg, 3.6 MB).

Owned and operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust , Hercules is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with special features that allow it to perform intricate tasks while descending to depths of 2.5 miles (4,000 meters). Hercules operates off Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus  and always with its tandem vehicle, Argus.

Hercules carries an array of lighting, cameras, and acoustic sensors that are used to gather video and other data during each dive. Hercules’ four HMI lights and high-definition video camera allow scientists to closely examine a dive site and monitor operations. Video is streamed up a fiber-optic cable to a control van on Nautilus and then out to the world on the Internet .

Two manipulator arms allow Hercules to collect biological and geological samples and to recover artifacts. Other sensors measure pressure, depth, water temperature, oxygen concentration, and salinity.

As a remotely operated vehicle, Hercules is controlled (remotely) by pilots located in a mission control room aboard E/V Nautilus, who use the vehicle’s six thrusters to "fly" the ROV in any direction.

 

Submersible Namesake

In Greek mythology, Hercules is a Roman god famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures.

ROV Hercules exploring over a brine pool. Image courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust/Nautilus Live.

ROV Hercules exploring over a brine pool. Image courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust/Nautilus Live. Download larger version (jpg, 919 KB).

ROV Hercules over the wreck of the German submarine U-166 in the Gulf of Mexico. Image courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust/Nautilus Live.

ROV Hercules over the wreck of the German submarine U-166 in the Gulf of Mexico. Image courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust/Nautilus Live. Download larger version (jpg, 1.1 MB).

About the Submersible

TYPE
Remotely operated vehicle
LENGTH
11 feet (3.4 meters)
WIDTH
6 feet (1.8 meters)
HEIGHT
7.5 feet (2.3 meters)
WEIGHT
5,200 pounds (2,400 kilograms)
MAXIMUM OPERATING DEPTH
2.5 miles (4,000 meters)
OPERATING SINCE
2003