Troubleshooting

Things never go right all the time on an expedition.

It started with heavy snow on Saturday morning. Visibility dwindled and the wind built snowdrifts on the upper decks. Then Dr. Chris Measures’s trace-metal CTD rosette (see Jan. 26 post) stopped collecting water. And, as you read yesterday, glider RU26 came home early with what Dr. Josh Kohut called “an attitude problem.”

The ocean is a harsh environment—cold, wet, salty, corrosive, deep, and forceful. When oceanographers put equipment over the side of a ship, they try to remind themselves that the ocean has no obligation to give it back. They carry spare parts, and they try not to get too attached. “If you put stuff in the ocean long enough, sooner or later something will go wrong with it,” Dr. Measures said. “It costs so much per dip, that’s the only way to look at it.”

Fortunately, as long as things don’t go badly wrong, the ship’s crew and scientists are good at finding creative ways to fix problems with just the limited materials they have on board. Read on through the slideshow to see how our day went:

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About Hugh Powell

Hugh is a staff writer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is on special assignment with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. He has previously written for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

3 Responses to “Troubleshooting”

  1. What is a attitude problem??

    • Profile photo of Hugh Powell

      Hi Emily, I’m glad you asked. For a person, an attitude problem is when they don’t want to do things they’re supposed to do. For gliders, there’s a sensor that tells it whether it’s leaning forward, backward, or side to side. In glider and airplane lingo, that’s called the glider’s attitude. The glider uses that information to automatically correct the way it’s flying. On Glider RU26, the attitude sensor stopped working. Dr. Kohut made a joke that the glider had an attitude problem, because both of those meanings were true.

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  1. Tweets that mention Troubleshooting | Ross Sea Connection -- Topsy.com - February 6, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Parsons, RU COOL. RU COOL said: Troubleshooting science equipment in the Ross Sea in today's post. http://fb.me/UVUoW7WV […]