Deep-Ocean Bites: Underwater Robots Miniseries

Underwater Robots Miniseries

We know less about the ocean floor than we do about the surface of the Moon and Mars. This is due to the many challenges that explorers must overcome to study the deep sea, including high pressure, low temperature, and complete darkness. Underwater robots are essential tools for ocean exploration, reaching areas of the ocean that are too dangerous or too difficult for humans to go. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are underwater robots that are tethered to a ship on the ocean’s surface via a long power and communications cable, allowing pilots on board the ship to see what the robot is exploring and control it from above. Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are not tethered to the ship and instead are controlled by a pre-programmed computer within the vehicle. Both types of underwater robots are highly customizable to the type of environments and research questions they are being used to explore. They are commonly outfitted with bright lights and high-definition cameras to capture what deep-sea environments look like. Additionally, ROVs and AUVs can be outfitted with a variety of sensors and tools to collect data and samples to better understand the deep ocean. Ocean engineers and pilots help to design, build, and even “fly” these underwater robots.

The Deep-Ocean Bites Hydrothermal Vent Miniseries is produced using previously recorded footage from expert interviews conducted during virtual NOAA Ocean Exploration Educator Professional Development events on various deep-sea topics from 2020 to present. The questions featured in each video were submitted by professional development participants and were answered live by ocean exploration experts. Additional topical footage was paired with interview transcripts after the fact to produce each of the short videos in the collection above.

Learn more about NOAA Ocean Exploration Educator Professional Development Opportunities and register for the next event today for the opportunity to ask an expert live.

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