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