- Science & Technology
- ROV Jason/Medea
Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason/Medea
ROV Jason being lowered into the water to begin exploring the cone site of the Brothers volcano. Image courtesy of Erik Olsen, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Download larger version (jpg, 924 KB).
Jason is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system designed and built by Woods Hole Oceanographic Instition’s National Deep Submergence Laboratory and funded by the National Science Foundation to give scientists access to the seafloor without leaving the deck of a ship.
Jason can be operated as either a two-body (with ROV Medea) or a single-body system, depending on mission requirements. A 10-kilometer (6-mile) reinforced fiber-optic cable delivers electrical power and commands from the ship to the vehicle, which then returns data and live video imagery throughout a multi-day dive.
Jason is equipped with sonars, video and still imaging systems, lighting, and numerous sampling systems. Jason’s manipulator arms collect samples of rock, sediment, or marine life and place them in the vehicle’s basket or on “elevator” platforms that float heavier loads to the surface.
Pilots and scientists work from a control room on the ship to monitor Jason’s instruments and video while maneuvering the vehicle. The average Jason dive lasts one to two days, though operators have kept the vehicle down for as long as seven days.
The first Jason began its career in 1988 and retired in 2001. In 2002, a new, second-generation Jason was deployed, and was upgraded in 2016, with a sturdier, more flexible vehicle that includes:
- A new bigger and stronger cable tether with break strength (BS) of 70,000 pounds compared to the traditional cable tether with a BS of 42,000 pounds, allowing heavy-lift operations of up to 4,000 pounds
- A modified Active Heave Compensated winch to accommodate the new cable
- A new Launch and Recovery System (LARS) that accommodates the increased payload rated to 15,000 pounds
- A new vehicle frame capable of withstanding the increased loads
- A new swappable heavy-lift tool skid that will be used for these lift operations
- A new science tool skid with increased space and payload for scientific equipment
- Additional flotation to accommodate the increase in weight of the new frame
The vehicles are named after the husband-wife pair Jason and Medea in Greek mythology.
A major, $2.4 million upgrade funded by the National Science Foundation in 2016 made ROV Jason more capable than ever. Image courtesy of Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Download larger version (jpg, 329 KB).
ROV Jason and Robert Fuhrmann look on as Mount Tavurvur belches ash. The photo was taken from the deck of R/V Melville as it left Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, on a cruise to the Manus Basin for chief scientist Maurice Tivey. Image courtesy of Phil Forte, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Download larger version (jpg, 244 KB).