June 20, 2010

Glider Robots & Gulf Oil Spill

The Gulf oil spill continues to rage on, but researchers have some new tools that are at least helping them to track the damage, and some of them are in the form of giant gliding robots.

The robot gliders suck in water from the oceanm and this makes them sink, then they shoot the water back out which makes it return to the surface.. the course is guided by a driver remotely from his laboratory, and it is thus able to explore the site of the spill and track and measure the plumes of oil.

The gliders are a relatively new tool, and are used by scientists in Anarctica often now as well. Said one expert, The robots can provide a bigger spatial map to complement what the ships are doing. They're really a supporting tool, but they can be out there in all conditions, all the time."

Glider Robots Gulf Oil Spill

As the Gulf oil spill approaches its third month, researchers are using a relatively new tool to track the plume: "glider" robots that use water power to zigzag through the ocean. Eight of these robots are now prowling the Gulf, driven remotely by researchers from institutions across the country. The gliders carry sensors to measure everything from water temperature to organic material that could mark the presence of dissolved oil. The idea, said Rutgers University oceanographer Oscar Schofield, one of the collaborators on the effort, is to track the spill and provide data on ocean movement to improve predictions of where the oil will go next.

Glider Robots Gulf Oil Spill

Posted at June 20, 2010 3:07 AM