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Science Technology

New Sub Dives To Crushing Depths 245 245

University of Washington Scientists are reporting that they have a new autonomous underwater vehicle that increases both the attainable depth and duration of deployment over current submersibles. Weighing in at just under 140 pounds, the "Deepglider" is able to stay out to sea for up to a year and hit depths of almost 9,000 feet. "Deepglider opens up new research possibilities for oceanographers studying global climate change. The glider's first trip revealed unexpected warming of water near the ocean floor, and scientists are interested in studying whether the temperatures are related to global warming."
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New Sub Dives To Crushing Depths

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  • by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:14PM (#18156844)
    For those who don't speak ancient google translated it to be:
    9 000 feet = 2 743.2 meters

  • by Jerry (6400)
    you tie your pet project to Global Warming.

    Doesn't matter how, just as long as you don't attempt to prove it wrong.
  • Serious question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zyl0x (987342) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:21PM (#18157002)
    How would global warming, if it even exists as people say it does, affect the temperature of water on the ocean floor?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by High Hat (618572)
      Well under the assumption that global warming has an effect on ocean streams this could be a possibility.

      Obviously heat radiated from the core of the Earth is a much more likely cause...

    • Re:Serious question (Score:5, Informative)

      by san (6716) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:44PM (#18157336)
      That is probably the very question they're trying to answer.

      Ocean water is not stagnant and there are currents that mix surface water with warmer water in places where the surface water is colder (and denser) than the deeper water.
  • I find it extremely unlikely that global warming is having any effect on the ocean floor. Head a mile off the coast of the pacific and swim down 20 feat. You'll notice a couple of things. One, it gets dark very quickly; meaning light doesn't get to travel far. Two, it gets very cold very fast; meaning the heat from the sun is not penetrating all that deeply.

    To keep this on topic, cool submersible though. It would be incredible to really explore the very depths of the ocean just to see what kind of life we f
    • Two, it gets very cold very fast; meaning the heat from the sun is not penetrating all that deeply.

      And that water has a density maximum at about 4 degrees C. So (to a first approximation, ignoring issues like salinity gradients) 4 degree C water sinks below water at any higher or lower temperature, regulating the deep-ocean temperature - until you get down to where the ocean bottom is heating it faster than it can float away.

      Heat input at the top just changes the level where it reaches 4 degrees, not what
      1. IIRC, you personally do not believe that Global warming is occurring, but I could be wrong.
      2. notice the current transport? That runs accross the surface and then submerges carrying heat with it. Since I am not an oceanographer, I could not make an intelligent guess on it. But, I would guess that are not as well.
      3. I suspect that a long term study will find that the ocean is fairly variable. The truth is, that we do not have that good of data related to temps and salinity, except at the surface. That is why a
  • by SuseLover (996311) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:31PM (#18157140)
    So, the very first question is weather this is related to global warming or not. What about.. Or it may be due to hot magma underneath or some previously unknown "conveyor belt"?

    Not jumping to conclusions or anything, are we??
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the dark hero (971268)

      So, the very first question is weather this is related to global warming or not. What about.. Or it may be due to hot magma underneath or some previously unknown "conveyor belt"?

      Not jumping to conclusions or anything, are we??

      No. We have a mat for that. The "Global Warming" square is right next to the "Violent Videogames" and "Acts of Terror" squares. You cant miss it.

    • From TFA:
      "The energy-efficient, battery-powered glider carries sensors to measure oceanic conditions including salinity and temperature -- information that is key to understanding climate change."

      Which sounds reasonable to me. No causality claims were made. These are scientists, with anomalous data which they're quite naturally curious about. That's what they do. Why are you so quick to assume that wild claims are being made? If it's magma, or a new conveyor belt, fine. Knowing about it is a Good Thing, as
  • Error in article? (Score:5, Informative)

    by asadodetira (664509) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:35PM (#18157212) Homepage
    I'm working in a buoyancy related problem so I have to point this out. From the full article: "When pressure compresses a hull in a traditional glider, it gains buoyancy and requires more energy to control." If it's compressed, the volume shrinks, it gains density and loses buoyancy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by arhines (620963)
      Yes, the article appears to be unclear on this. What they mean is that in a traditional glider, the compressibility will be either larger or smaller than that of seawater. In either of these cases, maintaining a steady rate of descent requires more ballast pumping to readjust the buoyancy. These gliders have isopycnal hulls, which have very close to the same compressibility of seawater, and thus require very little ballast pumping in order to maintain a constant glideslope.
      • I see. That would be too much to write in a wired article for the general public.
        Your explanation makes it clear that the seawater compressibility shouldn't be neglected.

        Since it's supposed to use little power, I wonder if this would be useful as a means of transporting goods. Would be slow though.
  • not a submarine (Score:5, Informative)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <infoNO@SPAMdevinmoore.com> on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:51PM (#18157432) Homepage Journal
    The reason this matters, from TFA, is that this is a glider, not a submarine. It's cheaper, lighter, and more energy efficient than dropping a big ball to the bottom of the ocean. This thing can drive around and look at stuff very similarly to how a non-crush depth submersible could do.
    • Did anyone even read the article(submitter included). This isn't a sub at all. It is the equivilant of a buoyancy controlled rock with sensors. It is cool stuff though, but these guys aren't gonna be using this thing to look at ship wrecks or follow sperm whales or anything.
      • by hcdejong (561314)
        Not quite. Unlike a rock, this thing can move around. With those wings, they can convert depth changes into forward motion. It seems buoyancy control uses less energy than a propeller, so they've got a very efficient propulsion system. The tradeoff is a low top speed.
  • How sad is it when a scientist sees something for the first time and rather than say 'I have no clue whay this is happening, I should study the reason this is happening' says 'This might be because of gloabal working, I should go look for a link'.
    • by Falkkin (97268)
      How sad is it when a non-scientist is presented with evidence of a phenomenon for the millionth time and rather than saying "maybe these scientists are on to something after all" says "this must be religion striking yet again"?
    • by VENONA (902751)
      Yeah, that would be sad, if it had happened. But it didn't. Please read TFA. No causality claims were made.
  • Progress? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhotoGuy (189467) on Monday February 26, 2007 @03:59PM (#18157536) Homepage
    It always amazes me, that we (well, humankind that is, I can't take all the credit) managed to dive to almost 40,000 feet with the Challenger [wikipedia.org] in *1951*, but haven't been back or deeper since! There is so much to explore on our own planet, and so much effort is being placed into going out into a vast, mostly empty vacuum, instead of looking under our own massive oceans, which are teeming with life (almost a new form, ever time we look at it).

    The discoveries we are likely to make under our oceans, are undoubtedly going to be of far more relevance and benefit to our own lives on this little planet, that anything we find "out there." Yes, I think we should do both, but I think the depths of our oceans are severely and disproportionately neglected, except for the odd diving renegade.
  • Global Warming? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Why do they think they have to toss in a comment on Global Warming?

    Then...

    Consider that the oceanic currents have cycle times measured in 1000's of years. Depending on where they are diving, if they are finding unexpected warming then this would mean that mankind would not be responsible for any presumed planetary warming... since the temperature of the water they are measuring was determined centuries ago.

    However, closer examination of such a silly statment leaves one with a question... If they had to sen
  • This sub seems not to reach the depth the average ROV reaches

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROV [wikipedia.org] ...More than half of the earth's ocean is deeper than 3000 meters, which is the current working depth of most of the ROV technology...

    For those who don't know the fathoms, feet and furlongs, 9000 feet is 2743 meter.

  • I am building a robotic min submarine for my masters thesis in computer science. I have learned a lot about fluid dynamics and systems control is hostile environments. The remote monitoring and control systems have been developed in G using National Instruments' LabVIEW while the mini sub itself is currently utilizing multiple 8 bit Microchip microcontrollers. Though even as I write this the design process has started for a prefab PCB board that will see these chips replaced by 32 bit Freescale (Motorola)
  • I was cooking on the grill today, and I started to feel warmer and warmer. It started getting so hot the meat cooked to a nice brown. Gobal warming ( thermaldynamics ) must be stopped! If only we could get another pop star to sing about the volcanic vents of the ocean caused by man!
  • Ahem. (Score:3, Funny)

    by StickyWidget (741415) on Monday February 26, 2007 @06:01PM (#18159284)
    All subs can dive to crushing depths. The problem is getting back up.
  • From the article: The glider's first trip revealed unexpected warming of water near the ocean floor, and scientists are interested in studying whether the temperatures are related to global warming.

    "The maiden voyage was wonderful," says Charlie Eriksen, professor of physical oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle. "On every dive we got within 10 meters of the bottom and we were able to see some interesting bottom temperature and salinity variations that we didn't know about, that I certain

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