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.
In Greek mythology, Hercules is a Roman god famous for his strength and for his numerous far-ranging adventures.
Recent Missions Supported by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research