Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Boaty McBoatface set for first scientific mission

Boaty McBoatface set for first scientific mission

As a consolation gesture, however, a smaller autonomous underwater vehicle was named Boaty McBoatface. The remotely operated underwater research vessel will be undertaking its first research mission as part of an Antarctic expedition that starts Friday, NPR reports.

Do you remember a while back when a public poll was held in the name a $200 million research vessel and it backfired? The UK made a decision to name that ship the RRS David Attenborough instead, but gave the Boaty name instead to a trio of underwater vehicles, the BBC reports.

The name it was given came in the wake of a campaign by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) that asked members of the public to suggest names for its new polar research ship.

Clearly horrified at the thought of having to give its lovely new vessel such a daft name, the NERC reminded everyone that it would have the final say. "It will "'fly' through submarine waterfalls and rapids, shedding light on how global warming is changing our oceans", the NERC said. The sub can reach depths of almost 20,000 feet and can operate remotely for months at a time.

Scientists from the University of Southampton and the British Antarctic Survey will launch Boaty into what the survey group describes as "some of the deepest and coldest abyssal ocean waters on Earth". The Orkney Passage is likely a key chokepoint in this process, which is why the researchers are hoping to learn more about the speed of its streams, the degree of turbulence down below, and how deep sea waters are responding to changes in the winds over the Southern Ocean.

Boaty McBoatface is heading out to join the fight against climate change. A future aim for Boaty will be to attempt the first-ever crossing of the Arctic Ocean under ice, which has the potential to deliver a significant change in scientists' ability to observe change in this vital region.

"And so, at the NERC National Oceanography Centre, Autosub Long Range Boaty McBoatface was born". According to The Guardian, a full-size, inflatable version of the submersible will "travel to events across the country".

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