A small yellow robot submarine, called Boaty McBoatface is activated to take on its first Antarctic mission after a competition to name a new polar research ship back fired, Boaty, which is one of the most popular names in recent maritime history. The submarine is a new type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which will be able to travel under ice, sink into depths of 6,000 metres, and transmit the data it collects to researchers via a radio link.
With a mission to investigate water flow and turbulence in the dark depths of the Orkney Passage, a 3.5km deep region of the Southern Ocean, Business Insider reported that the data it collects will help scientists understand how the ocean is responding to global warming.
"The name it was given was inpirired by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) that asked members of the public to suggest names for its new polar research ship." The report said.
Boaty will travel by the DynOPO (Dynamics of the Orkney Passage Outflow) expedition on the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) research ship James Clark Ross, starting from Punta Arenas in Chile on 17 March.
The lead scientist Prof Alberto Naveira Garabato, from the University of Southampton, reportedly saying: "The Orkney Passage is a key choke-point to the flow of abyssal waters and we expect the mechanism linking changing winds to abyssal water warming to operate."
"We will measure how fast the streams flow, how turbulent they are, and how they respond to changes in winds over the Southern Ocean. Our goal is to understand enough about these convoluted processes to represent them in the models that scientists use to predict how our climate will evolve over the 21st century and beyond."