SCINI and Penguins

I had another opportunity to go out into the field with the SCINI robot team.

http://scini1.mlml.calstate.edu/

We drove out about 25 miles west of McMurdo on snow machines to deploy the robot under the sea ice.  When we got out there we had to drill a hole in the ice with a “jiffy drill”.

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SCINI is deployed through about an 8″ hole through the sea ice.  Its a tethered ROV which means its communications are hardwired to the robot through a neutrally buoyant  line that is on the surface.  The robot tows an instrument package behind it as it surveys the underside of the sea ice.  The robot is controlled with a Playstation controller inside an insulated pop up tent.

We then went out to mark more locations to deploy the robot using a handheld GPS.  When we returned, we had two visitors.  I got to spend my Thanksgiving with two Emperor Penguins this year.

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