New Sub Dives Crushing Depths

Scientists at the University of Washington have developed an autonomous underwater vehicle that can stay out to sea for up to a year and dive to depths of nearly 9,000 feet — nearly three times deeper than the deepest-diving military submarines.

Known as Deepglider, the 71-inch long, 138-pound device is made of carbon fiber that can withstand the deep ocean’s immense pressure. The energy-efficient, battery-powered glider carries sensors to measure oceanic conditions including salinity and temperature — information that is key to understanding climate change. When the measurements are complete, Deepglider rises to the surface and transmits the data via satellite to onshore scientists.

“Reaching a depth of 2,700 meters (nearly 9,000 feet) is quite a feat and promises to extend the nature and type of missions that can be carried out by gliders,” says Princeton University engineering professor Naomi Leonard. “You could even imagine a heterogeneous fleet of gliders working in tandem at different depths to explore this otherwise impenetrable undersea.”


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