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Mercury Wave Glider

Wave Gliders survive Hurricane Sandy

While NASA’s Mars-exploration robots have been deservedly getting a lot of headlines, NOAA also has a fleet of semi-autonomous robots that are busy exploring the world’s oceans.

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Called Wave Gliders, they can patrol the waters for months at a time without human intervention. But the ocean is sometimes a violent place, and questions still come up about the little robot’s ability to conquer the deep blue sea. There are fewer questions today though, as one of the robots not only survived Hurricane Sandy, but continued to broadcast weather data throughout the storm.

The folks over at Liquid Robotics, developer of the Wave Glider, are happy to report that one of their Wave Gliders named Mercury battled through Hurricane Sandy and successfully piloted through winds up to 70 knots, all the while transmitting weather data in real time. One hundred miles due east of Toms River, New Jersey, the weather sensors on the Wave Glider gathered dramatic data from the ocean surface, reporting a plunge in barometric pressure of over 54.3 mbars to a low of 946 mbars as Sandy neared landfall.

"Mercury now joins the fleet of other Wave Gliders that have come through Category I hurricanes to successfully fulfill their missions," said Dr. Edward Lu, chief of innovative
applications for Liquid Robotics. "This is a testament to our robust and reliable technology and proof of its readiness for severe weather data collection."

Prior to Hurricane Sandy, scientists from Liquid Robotics, Sonardyne, Rutgers University and the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System deployed the Wave Glider and two Sonardyne undersea nodes as part of an extensive ocean observing technology demonstration project. This collaborative project demonstrates the use and cost effectiveness of new subsea and surface technology for advanced ocean measurement and enhanced tsunamis detection.

Posted by John Breeden II on Nov 06, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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