Almirante Maximiano Launches AUV in Antarctica

February 8, 2019 (Google Translation) – During the 4th phase of Operation Antarctica (OPERANTAR XXXVII), north of the Bransfield Strait, near the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica, researchers on the Polar Ship (NPo) “Admiral Maximian”, representing the Nautilus Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG), in collaboration with the University of East Anglia (UEA), launched a stand-alone submarine vehicle ( glider ) from a boat and collected it two days later.

With the launch of the glider , the Nautilus project was intended to conduct a 75-kilometer oceanographic section across the Bransfield Strait from the South Shetland Islands to the Antarctic Peninsula. This section would be repeated by the glider about eight times, collecting physical data from the ocean, while the NPo “Admiral Maximian” would support the rest of the team in conducting oceanographic stations in the Straits of Bransfield, Gerlache and Sea Strait. Weddell. With such data, the Interbiota project could evaluate the circulation of the waters of the region and study the interaction of the physical parameters in the local biological productivity.

The positive results achieved with the launch were enough for the researchers to plan to bring two gliders to the next OPERANTAR to profile the Bransfield Strait for up to two months.

The gliders are a new technology for ocean observing, allowing measure water properties such as salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen, with high spatial and temporal resolution. Due to their hydrodynamics, they are able to develop a horizontal speed of around 35 cm / s, can overcome the currents and have a battery life of up to four months, being ideal for use in extreme regions, difficult to access, such as Antarctica. With such characteristics, a glidercan profile a region of the ocean performing dives of up to 1000 meters, being remotely controlled. After each dive, once on the surface, the equipment sends the data collected by satellite, and can receive new commands from the pilots so that their route or the way of data collection are changed.