Saturday, January 23, 2010

In Longyearbyen

We are currently at the University Center of Svalbard (UNIS), Longyearbyen Svalbard. After going through my archive of images, I found this photo that captures our environment for deploying underwater robots. If you can't tell, its Robbie Plankenhorn ready to launch the VideoRay ROV.

Back from Ny Alesund!

We are back in Longyearbyen. We had a great trip and have tons to share with everyone. I have posted more pictures on the picasa page below.

Lots of Work

In the last few days several successful experiments were conducted. Several dives including an icy slush bath were attempted. Here is an image of Ragnhild post dive:

Also accomplished was the sampling of a particular algae, or kelp, growing in an area too dangerous for diving. The ROV was used to search for and grab a speciman. You can watch a video by clicking HERE.

The Iver AUV had some successful under ice dives on some small 5m ice rafts. Watch a video of the dive by clicking HERE. The Iver had a pretty steep surfacing angle:

At the end of a great day, we had nights filled with the sled dogs howing....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another successful day in Ny-Alesund. On the AUV side, we launchedch the REMUS with no problems.  Watch the video by clicking HERE to see it dissappear as it dives in the dark of the polar night.

Our Iver AUV had a good day as well with ice range sensing characterization experiments as well as some under ice deployments.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our REMUS Mission out of the harbor was successful. The vehicle's path can be seen here, where the top of the "T" was traversed several times.

Here is an image of the REMUS AUV in the lab recharging.

Safety Training Week Highlights

Hello from Longyearbyen! Robbie and I had a very successful week of safety training. Tuesday was the polar bear protection / rifle and flare gun training. We were trained to half-load, load and fire a 30-06 hunting rifle in order to protect ourselves from polar bears. Another highlight was the sea ice training where I was able to try falling into the water in sea ice and pull myself out using ice picks. Saturday we had some time to visit the museum next to UNIS after our flight to Ny-Alesund on Friday was canceled due to weather. We are hoping the flight tomorrow will get us up to Ny-Alesund to meet up with the rest of the team, weather permitting. Take a look at the photos! All of the photos can be seen at the link below.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Here is some footage obtrained using the camera on the ROV (from our second ROV dive). The underwater environment was thriving with bio-activity as can be seen in these videos.

This first image is a reflection of the videoRay on the water surface just before entering. See the associated video by clicking HERE.

Our first landing on the bottom allowed us to watch this Fabellina sp descending.Check out the VIDEO.

Huge quantities of these Caprella sp can seen. Watch it climbing in this VIDEO.

Polar cod were shy but still relatively easy to find as shown HERE. There are even FLATFISH.

Here is a blog video clip from just before the first REMUS AUV deployment. To watch it click CLICK HERE.

Our first Iver Deployment in the arctic. Note the ice in the background (difficult to see during the polar night). Check out a video of the deployment by clicking DEPLOYMENT VIDEO.

The iver2 looks great on this pass. Click HERE to see a video.

Divers Jorgen and Geir navigating the ice in search of samples.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chris and Mark setting up in a (very) small cabin near the COLD harbor.

Mark preparing for the first REMUS deployment in the WARM marine lab.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yesterday was another full day of dives and robot testing. Geir's camera picked up beautiful images. Here is one:

Mark and Chris had fun testing the Iver2 AUV communication range.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some more images from yesterday's swim.

The icy environment we are sampling in.

Geir Johnsen (NTNU) entering the icy water with his camera.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We had 3 divers in the water (without tanks for the moment), to watch a video CLICK HERE.

I flew the ROV around. A lot of kelp could be seen (interesting considering no light), some feeding birds and lots of life. Here are a couple of low-res images (too save time) that were taken.


My second blog video recorded, recorded just before our 3 divers got wet and brought the VideoRay ROV into the harbor of Kongsfjorden (a Fjord on the western coast of Svalbard).

Here is my first blog message that I recorded after unpacking equipment in the NA research station.


Welcome to the 2010 NORUS expedition to Ny-Alesund, Svalbard. NORUS is an education and research program that partners American and Norwegian scientists from California Polytechnic State University, Rutgers University, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and University Center in Svalbard. A major goal is to develop and use technology to study our Arctic Ecosystems. After several educational workshops and research expeditions we are focusing on the northernmost community of Ny-Alesund (79 degrees) an old coal mining settlement turned research station. There are approximatly 50 buildings here, not all of which are occupied. Given there is 24 hours of darkness, there are only about 30 people in the community at the moment (including the 9 of us).
We will be conducting a variety of experiments to investigate the effects of the polar night on the Arctic ecosystem, as well as testing a variety of technologies that we hope will aid in future Arctic sampling experiments. Our technology focus will be on underwater robots, name Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), Bottom Crawlers, and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).